Elita Chikwati Senior Agriculture Reporter
The country has more than 1,3 million tonnes of maize in stock, enough to feed the country until the next harvest, a senior Government official has said. Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri said this on Monday during a lecture at the Zimbabwe National Defence University.
He was delivering the lecture on “The future prospects of agriculture in Zimbabwe with particular emphasis on Command Agriculture”.
Minister Shiri said crops in the major grain producing provinces were in a satisfactory condition, while wheat deliveries to the Grain Marketing Board depots were continuing.
“Command Agriculture has been central to increasing the production of maize, the second largest contributor to agriculture Gross Domestic Product, raising strategic grain reserves and foreign currency, saving through import substitution, he said.
“This contributes to economic growth, food and monetary security and ultimately resulting in socio-political stability across the country. This is the nexus between food security and national security at large.”
Minister Shiri said as at November 1 last year, Command Agriculture had delivered 318 673 tonnes of maize, which is 28 percent of total deliveries of 1 138 322 tonnes to GMB.
“The Strategic Grain Reserves (SGR) stock of maize are 500 000 tonnes and the commercial stock stands at 823 593 tonnes and when combined they are sufficient to feed the country up to the next harvest or even some months after the next harvest,” he said.
Minister Shiri said although the crop assessment was still underway, indications were that the crops in the major grain producing areas were doing well.
“The crop assessments for 2018-19 season are currently underway and it is premature to say whether we will have a bumper harvest or to establish the impact of El-Nino, he said. In the main grain producing provinces; the three Mashonaland provinces, the crops are looking good.
“If we continue to have rains for the next two-three weeks we will be done; we should be able to have enough grains for our required demand.”