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Zimbabwe grain surplus can last 9 months

by Staff reporter
10 Dec 2018 at 05:45hrs | Views
ZIMBABWE has a surplus of grain that can last for nine months, the Secretary for Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, Mr Ringson Chitsiko, has said.

He was briefing the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Peace and Security on the food security situation in the country. Mr Chitsiko was accompanied by Agritex principal director Mr Joseph Gondo and Grain Marketing Board operations manager, Mr Felton Kamambo.

The committee was chaired by Dr David Parirenyatwa. Mr Chitsiko said as at December 3, the country's maize stocks stood at 1 179 756 and small grains amounted to 135 935 tonnes. The country also had 119 794 tonnes of wheat as of Thursday last week.

"For the past two seasons, Zimbabwe has not imported any major grains such as maize. We have 1 179 156 tonnes of maize which is twice our mandatory strategic grain reserve of 500 000 tonnes. The nation is comfortable since the surplus is enough to see us through nine months. This means the supply of the staple diet in the country is out of danger.

"It is important that if we do not work around the El~Nino-induced drought, the glory can varnish. We are working on measures to adapt to the potential effects of El Nino," he said.

Mr Chitsiko said the El Nino phenomenon was usually associated with the prolonged droughts or prolonged mid-season drought and floods but in Zimbabwe past El Nino seasons have been associated with droughts that have resulted in crop failure, livestock and wildlife deaths among other things. He said the country has experienced a good season once in every four to five years.

"We have been providing farmers with drought tolerant crops such as small grains, short and medium season varieties of maize, and our scientists have also ben breeding heat tolerant crops.

"We are also working on irrigation rehabilitation, development and expansion. We wanted to ensure that we develop 200 hectares of irrigation per every district although this intervention has been affected by shortage of funds.

"We have an early warning information system and drought monitoring. Agritex fortnightly report will help us track the season so that the country is forewarned in the event of any danger," he said.

He urged livestock farmers to harvest and store forage particularly in areas where there is decent vegetation.

"There is need for farmers to do water harvesting, and also embrace insurance for crops and livestock," he said.

Mr Gondo said the ministry was also promoting safe post-handling of produce to reduce post harvest losses. He said they were promoting the use of metal silos and had established demonstrations sites in different rural areas.

Source - chronicle

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