ZIMBABWE – The government of Zimbabwe has suspended grain imports up to next year following a self-sufficient season, a move that is envisioned to save US$300M from import bills.
According to Business Times, the announcement follows a released report by the Crop, Livestock, and Fisheries ministry that highlighted that Zimbabwe’s estimated maize production stood at 2 298 281metric tonnes (MT), a 58% increase on the 1 453 031 MT produced in the 2021/2022 season.
The ministry attributed the increased production to well-distributed rainfall received in the country in both space and time.
Anxious Masuka, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development minister, said both humans and livestock will have adequate consumption
“In light of the positive 2023 cereal balance sheet, grain importation is not recommended in the next 12 months,” Masuka said in the report
Earlier, the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development released a report on the country’s state of preparedness for the 2023/24 season which unequivocally indicated that this year’s focus was on increased productivity with the target areas for the major crops meant to grow 10%.
In addition, Mr. John Makoni, the chairman of the Zimbabwe Seed Trade Association projected that cereal production will hit 3 775 720 tonnes for the 2023/24 cropping season with maize accounting for 3 060 000 tonnes and 715 728 tonnes of traditional grains.
Marrying with the projections, the report indicated that the 2022/2023 season was characterized by an early onset of the rains in most parts of the country with Mashonaland provinces experiencing a rather late onset of the season
According to Masuka, the current total cereal production is 2 579 247 MT against a national cereal requirement of 1 837 742 MT for human consumption and 450 000 MT for livestock.
He, therefore, showed content in production stating that the stocks are enough for the 15 146 657 population with a consumption rate of 120kg per person yearly.
On his part, Paul Zakariya, the Zimbabwe Farmers Union executive director backed the report stating that the country has the potential to do more.
“We are happy that we are not going to import this year but given our good soils and climate conditions, we should now be talking about exporting not saving US$ on potential imports,” he said in a separate interview with Business Times.