AGRICULTURE minister Joseph Made yesterday said the food situation is stable with 250 000 metric tonnes of grain currently in stock, which is enough to cover the country for about six months.
Source: Zim’s food situation stable: Made – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 3, 2017
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Made appeared before the Senator Damian Mumvuri-led Parliamentary Committee on Peace and Security.
He told Senators that the 250 000 metric tonnes were in government stock, while the private sector might also have the same tonnage of maize.
“The total figure of planted crops today is 1,2 million hectares for maize compared to 773 000 hectares for the previous season, sorghum has 188 000 hectares compared to 86 000 hectares, cotton 155 000 hectares compared to 105 000 hectares the previous season, and tobacco 147 000 hectares compared to 94 000 hectares the previous season,” he said.
“Soya beans is the most depressed crop because a good number of farmers who switched over to growing maize and inputs for soya beans came a little bit late.”
Made said the national herd has 5,4 million cattle, the bulk being in communal areas.
He said the livestock industry would benefit from the fertiliser import permits to be also issued to industries producing fertiliser to ensure cattle farmers have good pastures.
“We hope to resuscitate the Cold Storage Company financing scheme and also look at the livestock sector and dairy revitalisation programme,” he said.
The Agriculture minister said he would not introduce the maize import parity price because the conditions of growing the crop were different from other countries.
“Our farmers are still struggling with financing for the crop, and we had to reject some financing on account of high interest rates. So, we are not going to change the price of $390 per metric tonne,” he said.
On the winter wheat crop, Made said the 2017 programme would target wheat and potatoes with an amount of $140 million required to support 70 000ha of winter wheat.
However, currently only 3 200 metric tonnes of wheat seed were in stock against the national requirements of 8 400 metric tonnes.
For the special maize production programme (command agriculture), Made said 62% of the contracted land was planted in all provinces, including institutions under the programme, and 20 million litres of fuel was distributed to farmers.
Made said the country would still need to import fertiliser until Sable Chemicals was able to produce enough stocks.
He said focus would also be given to combating the army worm which is very elusive and can bore into maize and sugarcane stalks, grass, fruits and vegetables completely destroying crops.