Zim maize production tumbles

HARARE - Zimbabwe's maize production for the 2014/15 agricultural season is forecast to decline by over 500 000 tonnes to 950 000 tonnes due to a prolonged dry spell, a latest Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) report has shown.

“The 2015 harvest is preliminarily forecast at under 1 million tonnes, about one-third down on 2014,” FAO said in a report prepared by its Global Information and Early Warning System.

This comes as the southern African country last year produced 1,4 million tonnes of maize, which was enough to meet national demand.

The cash-strapped Zimbabwean government is expected to fork out millions of dollars to import 700 000 tonnes of maize to avert food shortages.

“With the expected decrease in production this year, the number of food insecure people may rise, reversing the strong gains recorded last year,” the report indicated.

FAO noted that results of the national crop and vulnerability assessments, to be conducted in the following months, will provide more details on the state of food insecurity together with the number of vulnerable people in need of assistance in 2015/16.

Overall, southern Africa’s maize harvest is expected to shrink this year by some 26 percent compared with 2014’s bumper crop, a situation that could trigger food price increases and adversely affect recent food security gains, FAO warned.

For 2015, the early production forecast for maize — a staple food throughout the sub-region — stands at about 21,1 million tonnes, some 15 percent lower than the average for the last five years, FAO noted.

David Phiri, FAO’s sub-regional coordinator for southern Africa, said the fall in maize production was mostly due to the impact of erratic weather conditions.

“Last year, the sub-region saw a bumper harvest, which has made this year’s harvest prospects look even weaker so we have to be cautious until governments, often with the support of FAO, have completed all the assessments in the coming days. FAO is closely monitoring the situation on the ground,” he said.

Comments (3)

Never mind insufficient rains this season why have we not been able to feed ourselves ever since the so-called land reform programme? Furthermore most of today's farmers would rather grow tobacco rather than maize for their fellow citizens unlike the white farmers who grew enough maize to even export the surplus!

saundy - 8 May 2015

Saudy you are right.Smith was better than this idiot president.We cannot feed ourselves.Before they chased the white Zim was a lovely country ,full of everything.Check now we are now running a vending market.Every house in location is having a table outside.What is this Gushungo.Grow mhani.Khama was right

Utsi - 8 May 2015

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