ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe plans to make an initial export of 40 000 tonnes of maize grain to East Africa after harvesting more than 2.3 million tonnes this season in addition to a carryover stock of 300 000 tonnes from the previous season.
This comes after recently, Anxious Masuka, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development revealed that the executive has received import requests for a total stock of 350,000 tonnes of maize from Rwanda and the DRC.
In sub-Saharan Africa, maize is the leading cereal produced and consumed. Further, the demand for the cereal has been on the rise encouraging an intra-African trade for the commodity.
Speaking during the Mashonaland Central Province Agricultural Show in Bindura, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Permanent Secretary Dr. John Basera said maize exports by the country is a milestone for Zimbabwe, which was recently a food importer owing to persistent droughts.
“We will be exporting over 40 000 tonnes of maize to East Africa this year. The country is moving ahead on several fronts to ensure that land reform becomes a resounding success by making sure farmers have the inputs and backing to push production to new heights”
Basera revealed that Zimbabwe is ready to resume grain exports this year from the substantial surpluses grown by the farmers as the Second Republic’s agriculture policies continue to guarantee good harvests.
The minister attributes the impressive production to land reform, which gave a lot of farmers access to land, which has been matched with the agriculture and food systems transformation strategy which ensures they can use that land effectively to increase production.
“This is happening for the first time in many many years after the land reform programme. This signifies that the land reform program was a necessity and is indeed a big success,” Dr Basera said.
In addition, he pointed out that the strategy is a composite plan of action drawn from the agriculture recovery and livestock growth plans.
In optimism, the minister highlighted that after the promulgation and rolling out of the agricultural recovery growth plan, the country is projecting a surplus this year in the 2022/ 2023 season with a harvest of 2.9 million tonnes of summer cereals.
According to him, the forecast is against an annual requirement of 2.2 million tonnes and leaving a surplus of around 600 tonnes hence the prospects of exporting.
According to officials, wheat exports are also being considered after Zimbabwe attained self-sufficiency for the first time last year and should be reaping a significant surplus over the next few months.
The country has also made a milestone in traditional grains where 300 000 tonnes have been yielded this season.