Hunger is looming in Zimbabwe as the country’s maize output is projected to decline 43% in the 2021/2022 agricultural season due to poor rains.
Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa told cabinet Wednesday that maize is estimated at 1,557,914 metric tonnes, 43 % lower than 2,717,171 metric tonnes produced in the 2020/2021 season.
Traditional grains output is projected at 194,100 tonnes, 44 percent less than the 347,968 tonnes in 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,” Mutsvangwa said.
Of the 2,267,599 metric tonnes, 1,817,599 metric tonnes are for human consumption and 450,000 metric tonnes for livestock.
However production of other crops such as soybean, rice, potato and sweet potato is expected to increase by big margins this year.
Zimbabwe is currently facing a surge in the price of grains and mealie meal, a situation which is likely to worsen in light of the subdued yields.
According to the World Food Programme (WFP) about 5.5 million Zimbabweans will go hungry this year.
Despite a decrease in maize production, Mutsvangwa said government has enough to feed millions of Zimbabweans.
“Cabinet takes this opportunity to reassure the nation that, despite the decline in production owing to the vagaries of the weather, there is, however, enough maize in stock.
“Also, the recent rains have resulted in better output in the late-planted crops. The results will only be apparent at a later date. The government will ensure that all Grain Marketing Board depots have enough maize and traditional grains to meet the demands of the nation, owing to a stable Strategic Grain Reserve position,” she said.