By- The government has announced that the country was faced with hunger due to low rainfall received in the 2020/21 summer cropping season.
The poor rains affected the crop yields for both maize and traditional grains.
Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister Dr Anxious Masuka yesterday presented before Cabinet the 2021/22 Second Round Crop and Livestock Assessment Report, which was then adopted.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the 2021/22 farming season was largely poor for most farmers.
“Government wishes to inform the nation that the 2021/22 agricultural season was characterised by the late start of the rains which were received in the last week of December 2021. Rainfall distribution was poor in both space and time. This late onset of the rains caused late plantings, which were later affected by the prolonged dry spell,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
“Some farmers were also forced to make several re-plantings as a result of poor crop establishment and the false start to the season. Late rains were received in April 2022, and the impact of these late rains has not yet been captured. The rains came at a time when the majority of the early planted crops had been affected by the dry spell.”
She said Government estimates maize production to be at 1 557 914 metric tonnes, which is 43 percent lower than the 2 717 171 metric tonnes that was received in the previous farming season.
“Traditional grains production is projected at 194 100 metric tonnes, which is 44 percent less than the 347 968 metric tonnes output of the previous season, the total cereal production projection is 1 752 014 metric tonnes, against a national cereal requirement of 2 267 599 metric tonnes (1 817 599 metric tonnes for human consumption and 450 000 metric tonnes for livestock)” she said.
Minister Monica Mutsvangwa
The minister said the country expects a 41 percent increase in cotton production while tobacco production is estimated to fall by eight percent from the previous year.
Minister Mutsvangwa said assessment further indicates an improvement in the livestock sector and a boost to the national herd.
“This is attributable to the successful implementation of the Presidential Dipping Programme which is being complemented by the Tick Blitz exercise which continues to have a positive knock on tick-borne disease.
The national beef cattle herd increased from 5 478 648 cattle in the previous season to 5 509 983 this season, and the national average cattle mortality rate decreased from 11 percent in 2020 to 9 percent in 2021,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
“Water for livestock is adequate across the country though it is anticipated that challenges may be encountered as the season progresses. The worst hit areas being Chiredzi, Gutu, Zvimba, Chegutu, and Mhondoro-Ngezi. In order to contain tick borne diseases, cattle were being dipped three to four times per month.”