Production of horticulture and cash crops, except tea and macadamia nuts, significantly increased in the 2021/22 summer cropping season, largely due to increased irrigation schemes that enabled the crops to weather past the prolonged dry spell, a second crop and livestock assessment report shows.
The report also revealed that production increased due to increased hectares under the plantation crops and cash crops.
“There is an overall increase in production of horticultural crops in the 2021/2022 season.
“There is a general increase in area under plantation crops. However, the juvenile period for perennial crops can last up to between four and five years therefore an increase in area does not necessarily translate to an increase in production.
“There is a general increase in production under plantation crops with the exception of tea and macadamia,” reads part of the report.
The report also showed that production of blueberries increased by 73% to 1 968 metric tonnes (MT) in the 2021/2022 season from 1 140MT in the 2020/2021 season.
The pecan nuts production increased significantly by 348% to 374Mt this season from 85,3MT last season.
Sugarcane production is estimated at 6 049 404MT which represents a 3% increase from 5 886 527MT obtained in 2020/2021 season with yields in the newly resettled farmers still remains low averaging 65tonnes per hectare compared to an averaging of 120tonnes per ha in the commercial sector.
Coffee production also increased by 12% to 681MT this season from 608MT in the 2020/2021.
Apple production has increased by 17% from 4032 MT in the 2020/2021 season to 4708 MT obtained in the 2021/22 season some of the newly established orchards are now at their peak production phase.
Irish Potato production increased by 19% from 447 867MT in the 2020/2021 season to 592 779MT this season.
Macadamia production decreased by 10% to 52 488MT this season from 58 044MT obtained in the 2020/2021 season while tea production declined by 34% to 24 994MT this season from 38 056MT in the 2020/2021 season.
“Tea production has significantly declined by 34% as most plantations are being neglected, especially in the smallholder sector, due to low viability attributed to the depressed market prices on the international market.
“Macadamia production declined by 10% as the fruit set was negatively affected by low rainfall experienced from October to December because of the late start of the season. In most Macadamia producing districts in Manicaland, the season started mid-December,” the report said.
The merging crops such as pecan nuts and blueberries are increasing in production, with 345% and 73% respectively, across all provinces as there is an increase in the number of bearing trees.