Maize production across Zimbabwe during the 2020/2021 agricultural season increased by 199 percent compared to the previous season.
Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Anxious Masuka presented the 2021 Second Round Crop and Livestock Assessment Report to Cabinet.
“Maize production is estimated at 2 717 171 metric tonnes, which is 199 percent higher than the 907 628 metric tonnes produced in the 2019/2020 season.
“Traditional grains production is projected at 347 968 metric tonnes, which is 128 percent more than the 152 515 metric tonne output of the previous season,” Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said.
The total cereal production projection is 3 075 538 metric tonnes, against a national cereal requirement of 1 797 435 metric tonnes for human consumption and 450 000 metric tonnes for livestock.
Minister Mutsvangwa said cotton production increased by 94 percent and is estimated at 195 991 metric tonnes in the 2020/2021 season.
The previous season cotton production was at 101 000 metric tonnes.
Tobacco production is also estimated to increase by eight percent to 200 245 metric tonnes from 184 042 metric tonnes in the 2019/2020 season.
“Soyabean production is expected to increase by 51 percent to 71 290 metric tonnes from 47 088 metric tonnes last year.
“Sweet potato production is estimated to increase by 269 percent, sugar beans by 142 percent and groundnuts by 139 percent.”
In a post-Cabinet media briefing in Harare, Mutsvangwa said 68 000ha of the targeted 75 000ha for wheat were available for the season.
The winter wheat production is being supported by three schemes – CBZ Agro-Yield, Food Crop Contractors and Presidential Wheat Support Scheme.
Only 44 600 hectares were contracted under the schemes last year.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the assessment further indicates that while the livestock situation still requires attention, there has been a marked improvement in the state of affairs.
“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 percent in 2019 to 4.2 percent in 2020, due to improved disease control efforts, such as from the Presidential Tick Grease Scheme, and improved nutrition due to the good rainy season,” she said.
“Egg production is increasing, reaching a new high of 59.3 million dozens in 2020, surpassing the 2019 production by 18% (which was 50.4 million dozens) and 7% higher than previous record of 55.3 million in 2016.”
On the Winter Wheat Production Season, Mutsvangwa said the ongoing contracting of farmers has been enhanced by the use of information communication technologies, starting with the provision of electronic gadgets to extension staff.
“The provision of inputs is better than previous seasons, with all inputs for the private sector contracted hectarage having been secured and distribution is in progress.
“The 27 000 metric tonnes of basal fertilizer, 25 999 metric tonnes of top dressing fertilizer and 7 450 metric tonnes of wheat seeds required for the CBZ Agro-Yield programme are available, with 3 302 metric tonnes of basal fertilizer and 2 783 metric tonnes of top dressing having been distributed.
“For the Presidential Winter Wheat Scheme, seed and fertilizer supply contracts for the 10 000 hectares are being processed.”
Mutsvangwa assured farmers that sufficient electricity and water supplies are available to meet wheat planting requirements.
“A high-level Key Stakeholders Taskforce has been established to ensure availability of these critical enablers, and ZINWA has already held a successful stakeholders meeting ahead of the winter season,” she said.
She also expressed optimism a better winter season to be supported by a robust monitoring and evaluation framework, capacitated extension officers, and supplemented by weekly meetings of contractors and government.