Why Is Zimbabwe Importing More Maize Despite Bumper Harvest?

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Source: Harare24

Zimbabwe imported over 200 thousand metric tonnes of maize for seven months up to July to this year which is higher than in 2015 of the same period Livestock and Meat Advisory Council’s October Update revealed.

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The country is still importing more of its staple food despite the receiving a bumper harvest in the past farming season.

“Total maize imported for the seven months to July 2017 was 272,614 metric tonnes (mt), a decrease of 34% on the previous year but higher than the 256,654mt imported over the same period in 2015,” states  LMAC ‘sLivestock Market Update: October 2017.

Zimbabwe has been taking steps which include Command Agriculture to ensure that it becomes self-sufficient as the country experiences droughts in some years.

The country imported US$102 million for maize procurement compared with US$143 million and US$76 million in 2016 and 2015 respectively in the same period.

“The average price to July is $375, 9% higher than $344 over the corresponding period in 2016 and 25% higher than 2015,” states LMAC.

“Maize sourced from Zambia was the cheapest at an average price of US$294/mt while Mexico was the most expensive at US$399/mt. 56 and 23% of maize imports were sourced from South Africa and Mexico, respectively”.

The importation of maize in the country had been predicted by the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority board chairperson, Basil Nyabadza.

Nyabadza told the Newsday in February that Zimbabwe is likely to continue importing maize from Zambia and South Africa to meet its national needs despite the recent projections of a bumper harvest made by the Agriculture ministry.

“We are happy that we were blessed with good rains this year and this means our dams will be full and most of our farmers are expecting a very good harvest, but there will be some grain imports, particularly maize to supplement our national needs, but it will not be much” said Nyabadza.

Annual national demand for corn in Zimbabwe is estimated at 1.7 million tons according to the Global Agricultural Information Network. The country is expecting harvest about 2,7 million tons of maize from the 2016 /17 farming season as it received a lot of rainfall for farming.

Local media has been reporting about corruption in the implementation of command agriculture which the government is giving credit for the bumper harvest. The nation’s agricultural sector is mainly dependent on rainfall as many of are subsistence farmers who do not irrigate their farms.

 

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