Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Mat’land, Midlands set for worst harvest in five years: Fewsnet

Mat’land, Midlands set for worst harvest in five years: Fewsnet


MATABELELAND and the Midlands are set to record one of the worst harvests in five years due to erratic rainfall, the United States-based Famine Early Warning System Network (Fewsnet) has predicted.


The southern parts of Zimbabwe and Manicaland this season experienced prolonged dry spells and erratic rainfall, resulting in severe crop wilting and loss.

“The main harvests in these areas is expected to be one of the worst in the past five years,” Fewsnet said in a forecast for April.

“Poor households in these traditionally cereal-deficit areas are finding it difficult to afford essential non-food items and are expected to be stressed by April.”

Matabeleland and the Midlands have suffered a series of droughts in recent years that have been blamed on climate change.

Droughts have seen farmers lose livestock in large numbers and some villagers are now dependent on donors for food.

Fewsnet said most households in the northern parts of Zimbabwe still had food from last year’s harvest.

“Most households in the highly productive areas in the north are still consuming cereals from the previous harvest and supplementing with green harvests and market purchases,” the network said.

“Once the main harvests begin in April, households in these areas would likely continue experiencing minimum acute food security outcomes through June. “

Prices of maize have already started going up due to the poor harvests, Fewsnest said.

“Maize grain prices have begun to increase and national average prices rose by 14% between February and March,” the agency added.

“Although stable against the two-year average, this increase is likely due to decreased market supply.

“In the southern areas, average maize grain prices increased by 45% between February and March, and further increases are expected due to increased reliance on supplies from distant supply markets in the north.

“Generally national average maize meal prices are stable against two-year average and slightly less than same time last year in markets.”

The government has been urging farmers in drought-prone Matabeleland provinces to destock saying pastures were poor this year because of the low rainfall.


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