3 Apr 2014

Zimbabwe bans fresh food imports

3:42 pm on 3 April 2014

Zimbabwe has banned imports of fresh fruit and vegetables with immediate effect, saying that increased domestic production will meet domestic demand.

In a statement on Wednesday, the agriculture ministry said the ban will mostly impact supplies of tomatoes, potatoes, mangoes, grapes and apples from South Africa.

South African fruit and vegetable exports to Zimbabwe are worth at least $US1 million a month, according to trade data.

Zimbabwe's farming output is down by over 60 percent since 2000, following seizures of white-owned farms by the government, Reuters reports.

President Robert Mugabe said seizing the farms for redistribution to blacks was to correct colonial injustices.

Critics say Mr Mugabe, who has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980, turned a regional bread basket to a net importer of food.