Zim food crisis looms
Zimbabwe is facing a food deficit after a third of the current maize crop was declared a write-off.
Zimbabwe is facing a food deficit after a third of the current maize crop was declared a write-off following a dry spell in some parts of the country, the state-owned Herald newspaper reported on Monday.
It quoted government as saying that out of the 1,689,609 hectares put under maize during the 2011/2012 cropping season, about 498 144 ha or 30% was now a write-off.
"This has prompted the government to suspend the sale of grain in the Strategic Grain Reserve."
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made last Friday said the decision was taken to allow the Government to assess the available grain and what was expected from farmers.
"Government has ordered the sale of grain under the strategic grain reserves to stop while assessing the results of the second crop assessment.
"We want to take into account what we have in the reserve and what we anticipate from farmers in terms of grain deliveries after harvesting," he was quoted as saying.
The grain marketing season was due to start on April 1 and Made asked all farmers to deliver their grain to the GMB.
"There are indicators that our neighbouring countries are likely to have grain shortages. We are calling farmers to put in returns and show how much in terms of grain they are likely to deliver to the GMB," he said.
The final crop assessment results had shown that southern provinces were the most affected.
The crop assessment report showed that 1,689, 609 hectares of maize were planted this season, compared to 2 096 034 ha during the 2010/11 season.
Communal farmers had the highest contribution to the total area put under maize, the report stated.