Zimbabwe is expected to have a surplus of 800 000 tonnes of cereals, the first time in four years, on the back of good rains in the 2020/21 summer season, Business Times can report.
A second-round crop and livestock assessment report showed that cereal production is projected to be 3,075 538 metric tonnes against a national demand of 1,797435 metric tonnes for human consumption and 450 000 metric tonnes for livestock.
Once the bread basket of southern Africa, Zimbabwe will be self-sufficient in the coming years if the current trend continues.
“Given the impressive output across all the crops, the country is going back to the bread basket status. Zimbabwe is expecting a better season next year which will be supported by a robust monitoring and evaluation framework, capacitated extension officers and timely distribution of inputs,” the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement permanent secretary, John Basera told Business Times.
Tobacco production is estimated to increase by 8% to 200,245 metric tonnes from 184,042 metric tonnes during the previous summer cropping season with soyabean production expected to increase by 51% to 71,290 metric tonnes from 47,088 metric tonnes last year.
Sweet potato production is estimated to increase by 269%, sugar beans by 142% and groundnuts by 139%.
Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement minister Anxious Masuka said the crop and livestock assessment further indicates that there has been a marked improvement in the state of affairs although the livestock situation requires attention.
The national beef cattle herd increased from 5,443,770 cattle in the previous season to 5,478 648 this season, and the average national cattle mortality rate decreased from 12% in 2019 to 4.2% in 2020, due to improved disease control efforts, such as from the Presidential Tick Grease Scheme.
Cattle enjoyed an improved nutrition due to the good rainy season and farmers were urged to go and collect their tick grease allocations from their local GMB Depots.
Egg production increased, reaching a new high of 59.3m dozens in 2020, surpassing the 2019 production by 18% (which was 50.4m dozens) and 7% higher than the previous record of 55.3m in 2016.
Masuka said the government, through the extension officers, will move with speed to ensure minimal post-harvest losses as local preservation methods, harvesting support and markets are being procured for the benefit of farmers.