Zim 'faces maize output shortfall due to erratic weather conditions' – report

2018-03-10 11:53
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Harare – Zimbabwe's maize output for the current season 2018/19 is reportedly expected to fall due to erratic weather conditions, but the previous year's bumper harvest season is likely to fill up shortages.

The southern African country last year experienced a bumper harvest as farmers surpassed the targeted yield per hectare under the country's command agriculture programme. 

Several farmers surpassed the government benchmark target of five tons per hectare.

Most farmers in Mashonaland Central province, for example, harvested at least 9–11 tons of grain per hectare.

A senior government official, Justin Mupamhanga, at the time said the main aim for the command agriculture programme was "to ensure self-food sustenance after which exports would follow to help the country earn the much needed foreign currency".

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But this week, NewsDay reported that things were looking grim for the country as the national maize production for this season was likely going to be below average due to erratic weather conditions and an armyworms invasion. 

In a report for February, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fewsnet) said despite receiving widespread rains last month compared to January, in the south and other parts of the country, where planting was done earlier, much of these crops had permanently wilted.

At the start of the year, the Food and Agriculture Organisation said lengthy erratic weather conditions and the presence of the voracious fall armyworm significantly dampened Southern Africa’s agricultural season’s cereal production prospects.

The Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union director, Jeremiah Tavera, said that although there was a poor harvest this season, there were enough reserves from last year to cover any shortfalls.

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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