HARARE, May 16 (The Source) – Zimbabwe expects total grain production for the 2016/17 season to be over 2.5 million metric tonnes, more than enough to meet the country’s annual demand.
The southern African nation is recovering from its worst drought since 1992 in the 2015/16 season, which left a quarter of its population in need of food aid.
Favourable rains and the government’s command agriculture programme, which provided support to farmers, helped push output beyond Zimbabwe’s annual requirement of 2.2 million metric tonnes of grain.
“The country is fully food secure, with our current grain reserves standing at 160,000 metric tonnes.The country expects to harvest not less than 2,5 million metric tonnes of grain; maize and small grains put together,” minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development permanent secretary Ringson Chitsiko told a parliamentary committee on Sustainable Development Goals on Tuesday.
This year’s production was boosted by a 54 percent increase in hectares planted for maize from 1.1 million hectares in the 2015/16 season to 1.7 million hectares this season, said Chitsiko.
About $186 million has been mobilised to purchase grains which will be priced at $390 per tonne, he added.
“To date, $186 million has been mobilised for the purchase of grains from farmers of which $34 million has been deposited to Grain Marketing Board; which means that all is set for the farmers to start being paid for the delivered grains. More funds will continue to be mobilised as the deliveries continue,” said Chitsiko.