Cartels A Threat To National Security: Arda Boss
One of the country’s agricultural experts, Mr Basil Nyabadza, says the Government should be wary of the emergence of agro-processing industry cartels, which are fast threatening national security.
Mr Nyabadza, a seasoned farmer and Agriculture, Rural and Development Authority (Arda) board chairperson equated the agro-processing industry cartels to “vultures circling in the sky waiting for the demise of their prey.”
He said there has been an upsurge in the number of conglomerates creating monopolies across the entire agro-processing value chain and assuming powers to determine prices of goods on the local market.
“The food industry is key to the well-being of our people throughout whether in urban or rural areas and that food chain is now under threat because there is monopolistic situation existing within it (food industry). You will find out that it’s well structured, its cartels running whether it is the beef, mealie-meal, flour, bread, cooking oil or the sugar industry.
“There are cartels even in the tobacco industry and so on. Our agricultural structures and the marketing of agricultural produce are founded on cartels. They are not declared cartels but are effective and working and have serious impact in the shortest period of time. That combination sadly undermines national security and causes conflict between business and Government,” said Mr Nyabadza.
He said the cartels are behind the unabated and wanton price increases of goods, notably basic commodities since last year.
“They (cartels) sit around a table and decide what to charge on beef and so on and prices go up in all provinces. It’s not coincidental. It’s a few minds who structure, where is the foreign currency element? Everything is driven by a strong black market economy, which has leadership and that is causing harm, hence the VP (Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga)’s strong language against economic terrorism within our economy,” said Mr Nyabadza.
He said there was also a cartel working tirelessly to throw spanners on the financial reforms being implemented by Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube.
“The Ministry of Finance has enacted positive policies to generate revenue to address our deficit within Zimbabwe. Government is liquid for the first time in many years. We commend Professor Ncube for his visionary policies and those programmes are now undermined. So it appears there is a black market team working flat out to undermine Government.
“There was Government putting together a structure of Command Agriculture to say let’s grow maize and wheat as your raw materials but they (agro-processing companies) fold their arms.
“Some are not taking part, they simply use the wheat and maize and if it is not available, they will want to import . . . Every day we eat bread, mealie-meal and meat products and animals consume stock feed they (agro-processing companies) have got all that and it’s a cash-rich industry, which is what fuels the black market and now they undermine Government policies and then some fold their arms,” said Mr Nyabadza.
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