COVID-19 restrictions slow down grain imports in Zimbabwe

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HARARE, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- The COVID-19-induced restrictions that have been imposed by countries around the world are constraining grain imports in Zimbabwe, the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe Chairman Tafadzwa Musarara said Tuesday.

Many countries around the globe have imposed various restrictions to curb the spread of the pandemic, some of which include national lockdowns, travel restrictions and border closures.

"Primarily, this is affecting our grain importation. For instance, the Botswana government's tough restrictions have made it impossible to transit maize via Botswana. This has consequently resulted in congestion at Beitbridge and slowing down of grain imports," Musarara was quoted as saying by the Herald newspaper.

He said a 6 pm to 6 am curfew in Zimbabwe had also slowed down the movement of grain deliveries countrywide.

Due to successive droughts in recent years, Zimbabwe has been forced to import maize and wheat to plug the deficit.

However, Musarara said with the imminent bumper maize crop expected this year, the country is anticipated to stop maize imports once harvesting starts around April.

Zimbabwe requires 1.8 million tonnes of maize for both human and livestock consumption annually and is this year expecting to harvest 2.8 million tonnes, up from 1.1 million tonnes produced last year. Enditem

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