ZIMBABWE imported food and beverages worth $64 million in the month of October 2016, a clear indication that the country is losing millions of dollars following the collapse of the agricultural sector in the late 1990s.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Figures released by the Zimbabwe Statistical Agency (ZimStat) show that the country imported food and beverages worth $64m, down 2% from the previous month, mainly for household and industry consumption.
Cumulatively to October, the country imported food and beverages worth $514 million.
The country imported maize worth $36m, up 22% from the month of September.
It also imported wheat and non-alcoholic beverages worth $5m and $2,2m respectively.
However, in the period under review, the country’s trade deficit narrowed to $151m, as exports increased by 27% from September to $318m.
Exports grew 27% in October compared to the previous month, while imports rose by 6% to $470m.
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Some of the exports include beef, tobacco and other agricultural produce as well as wines, minerals and scrap metal.
In the period under review, Zimbabwe exported tobacco worth $144m compared to the $54m recorded in the previous month.
Nickel ore earned $28m, while gold brought in $76m.
In the first 10 months to October, the country’s imports bill stood at $4,2 billion, while exports amounted to $2,2bn, indicating a continued reliance on imported goods as local industry remains depressed.
Some of the imported products include fish, milk, cheese, sausage casings, agricultural products including maize, sugar related confectionary, biscuits, electrical energy, chemicals and generators.
South Africa was the biggest source market for imports, with $210m worth of products followed by Singapore with $81m.