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Zim projects 43% dip in maize output

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Zimbabwe’s maize output is projected to be down 43% to 1 557 914 metric tonnes from the 2 717 171 metric tonnes which were produced in the 2020/2021 season due late rainfall and a prolonged dry spell, the government said yesterday.

 Zimbabwe had projected the economy to grow by 5.5% this year spurred by mining and a good agricultural season.

In a post Cabinet briefing, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the 2021/22 Second Round Crop and Livestock Assessment Report adopted by Cabinet showed that some farmers were forced to make several re-plantings as a result of poor crop establishment and the false start to the season.

“Maize production is estimated at 1 557 914 metric tonnes, which is 43% lower than the 2 717 171 metric tonnes which were produced in the 2020/2021 season,” Mutsvangwa said.

She said traditional grains production is projected at 194 100 metric tonnes, which is 44% less than the 347 968 metric tonnes output of the previous season.

“The total cereal production projection is 1 752 014 metric tonnes, against a national cereal requirement of 2 267 599 metric tonnes (1 817 599 metric tonnes for human consumption and 450 000 metric tonnes for livestock),” Mutsvangwa said.

The projected dip in maize output comes as the Grain Marketing Board gave farmers two weeks after harvest to deliver their grain.

Farmers have, however, resisted the move saying they will sell their produce to the highest bidder as they push to be paid in foreign currency to cushion them against the depreciation of the local currency.

Cotton production is estimated to buck the trend, increasing 41% to 116 521 metric tonnes in the 2021/2022 season, from the 195 991metric tonnes in the 2020/2021 season.

Zimbabwe’s fourth largest foreign currency, tobacco, is projected to decline with production at 183m kg from the 200m kg realized last year. Soyabean production is forecast to increase by 15% to 82 028 metric tonnes from 71 290 metric tonnes last year, Mutsvangwa said.

She said the assessment further indicated an improvement in the livestock sector.

This is attributable to the successful implementation of the Presidential Dipping Programme which is being complemented by the Tick Blitz exercise which continue to have a positive knock-on tick-borne disease.

 The national beef cattle herd increased to 5 509 983 this season from 5 478 648 in the previous season. The national average cattle mortality rate decreased to 9% last year from 11% in 2020, Mutsvangwa said.

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