Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Govt projects grain surplus

Govt projects grain surplus


Wednesday, 20 April 2011 21:44

Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made

Herald Reporter

GOVERNMENT is projecting a harvest of over 1 877 700 tonnes of grain this year, surpassing the national annual cereal requirement of 1,8 million, a Cabinet Minister revealed yesterday.

This comes at a time when Government is battling to move grain to areas facing food shortages.

Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made, said his ministry projected a total maize yield of 1 451 629 tonnes this season on two million hectares planted under the crop.

This indicates a nine percent increase from last year’s harvest.

Minister Made said an additional 270 000 tonnes of maize were already in Grain Marketing Board silos as a carry over from last season.

Last year’s figures stood at 1 327 572 tonnes planted on 1, 8 million hectares.

He said with a cumulative total of grain standing at 1, 6 million tonnes including other small grains, coupled with 270 000 tonnes in GMB silos, the anticipated grain yields is projected to stand at 1 877 700 tonnes.

This reflects a marginal surplus that will go a long way towards ensuring national food security.

The figures follow a crop and livestock assessment made by the Ministry and a report has since been tabled before Cabinet.

“I want to caution that still, even though we are issuing these figures, we have not yet started harvesting the bulk of the crop, so the figures remain tentative projections,” said Minister Made while addressing journalists.

“I am aware of those sections that would want to rush to say these figures are final, they relate to gross production.

“They do not relate to the estimated marketable crop because we do not know what would finally be marketed to the GMB and other players in the market.”

The Minister, however, said the country would continue to import grain because the figures did not determine whether the yield was adequate or not as that was still under discussion by stakeholders.

He said the private sector has in recent weeks imported over 30 000 tonnes of grain.

“Our main task is to move grain from those districts with surplus to those with deficit,” he said.

The Minister said the long dry spell experienced in some parts of the country lasting more than three weeks in some areas had an adverse effect on crop yields.

The Minister described the report as comprehensive and said the figures would now be deliberated by a Cabinet Committee on food assessment to determine the adequacy.

He commended peri-urban farmers for their contribution to the country’s food sustenance.

Tobacco crop projection remained at 177 792 tonnes, while cotton projected yields stand at 220 219 tonnes.

Other crops are sorghum (94 789t), pearl millet (45 000), finger millet, (16 627), groundnuts (230 475), soya beans (84 173), sugar beans (13 121). Government, said Minister Made, was aware that farmers were waiting for the floor price for GMB to be announced before they could start selling.

On livestock, Minister Made said the country currently has at least 5, 1 million herd of cattle, 502 000 sheep, 3,7 million goats, 867 horses, 258 000 pigs and 400 000 donkeys.

“The current late rains, we hope will improve grazing because it has been affected by the dry spell,” he said.

The Minister said Cabinet had also noted that there was need to fund all classes of farmers with A2 model farmers getting credit lines.

He said it was also noted that the Presidential Well Wishers Scheme helped farmers a great deal.

“Cabinet also noted that the Presidential Well Wishers Scheme had the greatest impact on grain production, cotton and livestock,” he said.

Minister Made said Cabinet had emphasized the need to provide funds to buy grain so as to support the grain strategic reserve.



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