Harare (New Ziana) – Cabinet on Tuesday received the 2020/21 first round crop and livestock assessment report which showed that both crops and livestock were faring well following a good rain season.
This was said by Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa during her weekly Post Cabinet Briefing.
She said the report had been presented to Cabinet by Vice President General Constantino Chiwenga (Rtd) in his capacity as chairman of the Cabinet committee on food security and nutrition.
Mutsvangwa said the assessment was undertaken from 28 January, 2021 to 10 February, while the verification was done between 10 and 23 February.
“The crop condition was generally fair to good. Area planted maize increased by 24 percent from 1.5 to 1.9 million hectares,” she said.
Earlier, President Emerson Mnangagwa had hinted that maize output for the 2020/21 cropping season was expected to reach a record 2.8 million tonnes, triple the amount achieved in the previous season.
Successive droughts have weighed down crop production in recent years, but this has changed due to good rains and the introduction of conservation agriculture popularly known as Pfumvudza/Intwasa.
Mutsvangwa added: “The condition of livestock was generally fair to good during the assessment period and was expected to continue improving due to good condition of grazing currently available.
“Furthermore, Government has initiated a pasture development programme through the Presidential Livestock Inputs Scheme which is meant to improve livestock nutrition in the drought prone districts of the country. The programme is targeting 5 provinces, namely Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Masvingo, Midlands and Manicaland.”
Mutsvangwa said the second crop assessment results will be unveiled mid-April.
“It is envisaged that the assessment will be improved once capacitation of grassroots staff is completed and the Agriculture Information Management System is operationalised,” she said.
To boost crop and livestock production, Mutsvangwa said government would accelerate rehabilitation of existing irrigation infrastructure and the development of new ones and local production of animal health products.
This, she said, would help transform farming from subsistence to market-oriented business.
“This is in line with the policy of one dam per district and 200 hectares. The financing of local production of vaccines and accaricides to minimize mortalities as a result of tick borne diseases will also be prioritized, while livestock production support schemes for vulnerable households and long-term financing schemes for commercial livestock producers will be instituted,” she said.
Meanwhile, Mutsvangwa said government had approved the reopening of driving schools, the Traffic Safety Council and the Vehicle Inspection Department under strict adherence to health protocols.
She said Cabinet was also cognizant of a possible third wave of COVID-19 sweeping across the country.
“As the nation approaches the Easter holidays, Cabinet notes that there is a likelihood of increased internal and cross border movement of people, which may provide fertile ground for increased transmission. In that regard, the Ministry of Health and Child Care is strengthening surveillance, case management, and risk communication and community engagement in anticipation of the Easter holidays. Special attention will be accorded to ports of entry and exit,” she said.