Zambian farmers have asked their government to ban Tanzanian tomato imports in a bid to protect them against “unfair competition”. Farmers said the imports meant that local prices were deflated by as much as ZMW150 per 25kg box.
The permanent secretary for agriculture – Julius Shawa – said although there was no law restricting vegetable imports, his ministry would take steps to protect the local industry.
‘These imports will wipe us out’
Farmers at the the Soweto Market in Lusaka, complained that there had been an influx of trucks from Tanzania in recent weeks, selling tomatoes at low prices.
“A box of imported tomatoes is fetching between ZMW50 and ZMW80 per 25kg which we normally sell at ZMW200,” said Mwiza Tembo, a farmer of Chongwe near Lusaka.
“These imports will wipe us out given that our inputs are much higher as we are fighting the Tuta Absoluta outbreak,” said Jeddy Mwinga, another farmer near Lusaka.
Shawa urged the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) to help curb the smuggling of tomatoes and other produce into the country.