Latest News Editor's Choice

News / National

Bumper harvest trims Zimbabwe cereal imports

by Staff reporter
23 Aug 2021 at 05:48hrs | Views
ZIMBABWE has started reaping benefits of a stellar agricultural season after cereal imports, including maize, dropped to 1,9 percent in the five months to May 2021 from 9,1 percent in January, official statistics show. Statistics from May's trade report released by the Zimbabwe National Statistical Agency (Zimstat) show that maize output for this season is projected at a record 2,7 million tonnes, about 193,1 percent up from 0,9 million tonnes produced last season.

The maize output will be complemented by increases in the output of other grains, including sorghum, pear millet and finger millet, a situation that has led to low grain imports, especially after outright ban of maize shipments by the Government. Consequently, the bumper harvest achieved this season, after the good rains received across the country, will thus anchor low food and overall inflation decline, according to recent pronouncements by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).

Central bank chief Dr John Mangudya is on record saying, due to the good harvest expected this year Zimbabwe would save about US$300 million that was being spent on importing cereals, particularly maize and wheat, which would now be channelled towards key productive sectors.

"In 2021, maize imports rose from 5,7 percent in January to 7,1 percent in February before declining to three percent in April, and further to 1,9 percent in May 2021," Zimstat said last week.

The maize level of output surpasses the national cereal requirement of an estimated 1,8 million tonnes and 450 000 tonnes for human and livestock consumption, respectively. It is anticipated that about 1,9 million tonnes of grain, valued at $67,7 billion (Zimbabwe dollars), will be delivered to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) by farmers country-wide.

Broadly, given agriculture's strategic position in the domestic economy, Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube said agriculture will drive projected growth of 7,8 percent this year, despite the long shadow of Covid-19. Growth of the sector in 2021 was revised upwards in the mid-term fiscal policy delivered last month, on account of higher-than expected performance of almost all crops particularly maize, groundnuts and sorghum.

Agriculture contributes about 16 percent to Zimbabwe's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and is estimated to grow by 34 percent, up from the original Budget projection of 11 percent. South Africa is Zimbabwe's major trading partner. However, exports to South Africa declined from a peak of 61,2 percent in November 2020 to 39,7 percent in April 2021 before increasing to 53,3 percent in May 2021. Exports to the United Arab Emirates, Zimbabwe's second largest trading partner, dropped to 18,7 percent in May 2021 from 25,5 percent in April 2021.

Source - chronicle