ZIMBABWE –  Zimbabwe is considering exporting surplus wheat to neighboring Mozambique after an anticipated harvest of 420,000 tonnes this year, which is significantly above its requirement of 360,000 tonnes, according to a report by the country’s local news outlet, The Herald.   

Last year, the wheat hectarage in the country was 80,000 hectares, and it yielded around 375,000 tonnes of wheat, which sufficiently met the requirements of the country’s population. 

However, this year, the planted area going to wheat rose to 86,000 hectares, thanks to various interventions placed by President Mnangagwa and his government, thus raising the country’s wheat outlook for the year. 

Additionally, Zimbabwe received a chunk of the US$25,5 million African Development Bank (AfDB)’s fund to boost wheat and food production and avert potential food shortages.

According to Dr. John Basera, the country’s Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development permanent secretary, there is a massive market for wheat in Mozambique that Zimbabwean farmers need to tap into as the country becomes wheat-sufficient.

Recently, a delegation from Mozambique visited Mashonaland to appreciate how we grow wheat. There is a big market in Mozambique so we need to aim at that. We need to grow our own food as Africa,” Dr. Basera commented. 

The sentiment that Africa needs to sufficiently grow its food holds especially true as supply chain issues persist in the face of continued conflict between key wheat producers, Ukraine and Russia, leaving African millers to look for other wheat sources to meet local demand for wheat products. 

Zimbabwe has been working on the localization of its food production, and will hopefully become a wheat basket for its neighboring countries. 

According to Mary Mliswa-Chikoka, the Minister of State for Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs & Devolution, farmers have been forming joint ventures to increase crop production and improve food security, which will continue to be instrumental to the country’s plan to harvest surplus wheat and export it. 

Farmers should get inputs on time so that the crops can grow on time,” she added, encouraging the government and other parties to support farmers in their quest to plant more wheat for the good of the nation. 

Corn’s outlook remains positive 

Wheat is not the only crop doing well in Zimbabwe. The output for corn, one of the country’s staples, could reach 1.5 million metric tons, an increase of 5% in the marketing year 2023/24 from the previous marketing year’s crop, according to the June report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

However, with an estimated annual corn requirement of 2.2 MMT, Zimbabwe will need to import approximately 450,000 MT of corn in MY2023/24 to meet local demand. 

Zimbabwe will mostly depend on its southern African neighbor, South Africa, for corn imports following that South Africa produced its third largest corn crop on record in 2023 and has more than 3.0 MMT of corn available for export in MY 2023/24.

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