Zim expects 24 percent more grain in 2020

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Harare, (New Ziana) – Zimbabwe is expecting to harvest slightly over one million tonnes of grain in 2020, an increase of 24 percent from last year’s production of 852 000 tonnes, Finance and Economic Development Minister Prof Mthuli Ncube said on Thursday.

Presenting the Mid-Term Budget review statement, he the country was also expecting an output increase of 103 percent of traditional grains this year.

“The 2019/2020 First Round Crop and Livestock Assessment indicates some reduction in hectorage for both grains and cash crops in response to declining prices and late onset of rainfall. As a result, revised crop output point to a mild agriculture growth contraction of -0.2 percent against the 5 percent originally anticipated.

“The 2020 Second Round Crop and Livestock Assessment Report indicates that grain production increased by 24 percent from 852 000 tons to 1 060 000 tons in 2020,” he said.

Zimbabwe’s national grain demand is estimated at 1.8 million tonnes per year.

Ncube said the grain and livestock assessment report also indicated that in addition to prioritising maize production, farmers chose to increase area planted for drought resistant crops such as traditional grains and other drought tolerant crops like sunflower.

“Traditional grain production for the 2019/2020 season is estimated at 152 515 MT, which is 103 percent more compared to 75 209 MT in 2018/2019. The increase is attributed to increased support extended to farmers under the Presidential Input Scheme, encouragement by the Government as well as capacity building of farmers.

“Cash crops (cotton, tobacco and soya beans) hectorage was on the decrease in response to declining prices and late onset of rainfall. As a result, revised crop output point to a mild agriculture growth contraction of -0.2 percent against the 5 percent originally anticipated,” Ncube said.

He said preparations for the 2020/21 farming season were underway guided by the Agriculture Recovery Plan.

“Going forward, preparations for the 2020/21 farming season are underway guided by the Agriculture Recovery Plan, which prioritises productivity through interventions centred on mechanisation, irrigation, soil conditioning, extension services and appropriate and timely financing.

“In preparation for the 2020/21 summer cropping programme, Government is mobilising resources to finance farming inputs for the vulnerable households. Government is also supporting mechanisation and irrigation development programmes. The financial sector and private players are expected to finance commercial farming activities,” he said.

Under the 2020/21 presidential input scheme, 1.8 million households are expected to grow maize and traditional grains.

“The Programme will be funded through the Budget for procurement of inputs. The farmers will be provided with standardised input package of 3-5kg seed, 50kg basal and 50 kg top dressing fertilisers. The package is enough to cover a 0.125 ha plot and beneficiaries are expected to fully and religiously adopt Conversation Agriculture Principles as a way to climate proof the programme,” he said.
New Ziana

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