Zimbabwe bans fruit and vegetable imports

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Zimbabwe bans fruit and vegetable imports

 Zimbabwe has banned imports of fruit and vegetables with immediate effect to preserve scarce foreign exchange, the agriculture minister reportedly said on Tuesday. 

News agency Reuters reported the country dumped its currency for the U.S. dollar in 2009 because it was wrecked by hyperinflation but it is now running short of dollars.

Last year the southern African country spent more than US$80 million on fruit and vegetables, according to national statistics agency Zimstat.

The produce included tomatoes, onions, carrots, grapes, apples and oranges.

Agriculture Minister Joseph Made told the Herald newspaper he had been directed by President Robert Mugabe to stop produce imports because “they waste much needed foreign currency," according to the story.

“This means that the importation of fruit and vegetables will be stopped immediately. We are finalising on the exact list of foreign-produced fruits that are occupying shelves in shops,” Made was quoted as saying.

Zimbabwe relies heavily on imports from neighboring South Africa, its biggest trading partner, and has over the years struggled to produce enough to meet domestic demand.
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