Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Zimbabwe to remain net grain importer

Zimbabwe to remain net grain importer

Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister, Joseph Made

Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister, Joseph Made

INTERNATIONAL research firm, BMI, has suggested that Zimbabwe will remain a net maize importer in the long term, despite a bumper harvest during the exceptional 2016/17 agricultural season.
The country is expected to have produced 2,1 million tonnes of maize in the 2016/17 season, with A2 commercial farmers, most of whom were funded through the Command Agriculture programme, accounting for just less than 30 percent of total output.
Government spent about $400 million on grain imports in 2016 after a poor harvest in the drought-hit 2015/16 season, when the country produced 511 000 tonnes against national requirements of 1,8 million tonnes.
Production soared this year on the back of good rains, which however resulted in flooding in some parts of the country.
“We expect Zimbabwe to remain a net corn (maize) importer over the long term. Over the next five years, we expect production of the grain to demonstrate volatility as significant growth in 2016/17 will not be maintained,” said BMI in a report.
The research firm’s forecasts for maize production to 2020/21 are at 1,511 million tonnes, down on this year’s production levels.
“We maintain the country will remain a net corn importer in the coming years. The sugar sector will also struggle following the end of EU production quotas. Consequently, although we forecast a domestic sugar market surplus, our forecasts are relatively subdued despite our expectations for higher average prices than current levels in the coming years,” said BMI.
The firm said an overall improvement in sugarcane yields, greater efficiency of mills and long-term access to export markets would be key drivers of production growth.
A sugar deficit in Africa is expected to widen as low international prices, the loss of the EU market and disappointing growth in regional consumption provide few incentives to invest.
newsdesk@fingaz.co.zw

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