Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe Agriculture Profile 2012
Zimbabwe Agriculture Profile 2012
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Increased maize plantings support production growth
Maize grain prices increase seasonally, but level off at the beginning of 2011
Improved availability of maize helps to stabilise food security
08/12/2010 Improved maize harvest, but millet and sorghum production decline for 2009/10 season
A joint FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission (CFSAM), conducted in June 2010, concluded that national maize production in 2010 increased by 7 % over last season’s output, to 1.35 million tonnes. Despite unevenly distributed rains in southern and eastern areas, an extensive input programme contributed to the larger maize harvest, which supported a significant expansion in the maize area planted to an historical high of 1.8 million hectares. This represents a rise of 20 % over the previous year’s level and more than compensated for the lower yields recorded this year, due to the mid-season dry spell in December and January. The dry spell affected in particular Manicaland and Masvingo provinces where rainfall levels were approximately 50 % below the average (1996-2009) during the two aforementioned months.
In contrast to maize, millet and sorghum production fell by 16 and 15 % respectively, due to a contraction in the area planted and a reduction in yields but remained well above the previous five-year average.
Wheat production has fallen drastically since 2006, and this decline has continued in 2010 with an estimated production of 30 000 tonnes. The high cost of inputs, poor maintenance of irrigation facilities and erratic electricity supplies, are all considered to have contributed to the lower area planted and production levels. Cash crop production, such as cotton and groundnuts, also fell with the exception of tobacco. This decline is attributed to erratic rainfall and a decrease in area planted due to the lower prices offered to farmers last season.
For the 2010/11 agricultural season - planting is scheduled to begin in November - about 475 000 households have been targeted to receive seed and fertiliser assistance. On average the support should be sufficient to cover an area of 0.25 to 0.5 hectares per household.
Livestock conditions are reported to be fair to good for all classes of livestock across the country. However, the situation in Matabeleland South and Masvingo is of concern, where grazing is not likely to last up to the next rainy season.
Liberalised grain market improves food availability
Maize prices on the whole have declined and remain stable this year, with an average national price below USD 0.30/kg, as of July. In Harare, prices fell from February to May, conforming to annual seasonal trends, and remained stable into July at USD 0.23/kg.
The liberalization of the grain market has improved the availability of cereal products in the country and heightened the role of the commercial sector in meeting national cereal requirements. The Government parastatal, Grain Marketing Board (GMB), will continue to act as the buyer of last resort to maintain a floor price; however, limited financial liquidity and high overhead costs have constrained the institution’s operations.
Overall food security situation remains stable
The overall food security situation remains stable; however, based on sites monitored by the National Early Warning Unit (NEWU) consumption of own grain production in July was lower than in the previous year. This is attributed to a fall in production in areas affected by the mid-season dry spell
The CFSAM has estimated that approximately 1.68 million people will require food assistance in the 2010/11 marketing year (April March), with Manicaland and Masvingo projected to have the highest number of food insecure persons between January and March (peak lean season); these two provinces also experienced the largest drop in maize production relative to last season. The number of people in need of assistance includes both the transitory and chronically food insecure, and an estimated 111 000 tonnes of cereals is required to assist the affected population until the new harvest becomes available in March 2011.
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