ZIMBABWE expects to harvest three million tonnes of cereals during the 2020/21 summer cropping season, the highest yield in 20 years, the Second Round Crop and Livestock Assessment report revealed recently.
A surplus of over 820 000 tonnes of cereals is expected this marketing season, the highest yield since the 2000/01 farming season.
The report revealed that cereal production is estimated at 3 075 538 tonnes against a national cereal requirement of 1 797 435 tonnes for human consumption and 450 000 tonnes for livestock.
According to the final assessment report, estimated maize production stands at 2 717 171 tonnes, which is a significant rise from the 907 628 tonnes produced in the 2019/2020 season.
The report reads:
“In addition to the good rainfall season in the 2020/2021 season, the practice of climate-proofed technologies (Pfumvudza/ Intwasa) significantly contributed to the increased yield levels supported by well-coordinated input programmes.
“There was marked improvement in maize yield across the country as a result of increased amount of rainfall and good distribution from the onset of the season in November 2020 to the end of February 2021,” reads the report.
It states that maize production was dominated by the communal sector, which contributed 36 percent although yield levels were low compared to other sectors.
It has been noted that in some areas, yield levels were suppressed because of leaching during the months of December and January.
Traditional grains production is estimated at 347 968 tonnes, which is an increase of 128 percent compared to the 152 515 tonnes produced by farmers in 2019/2020 season.
Sorghum production is expected to be 244 063 tonnes which is 135 percent more than 103 684 tonnes obtained during 2019/2020 season.
There was also an increase in finger millet production with farmers expected to harvest 13 223 tonnes registering an increase of 35 percent from the 9 799 tonnes produced during last summer’s cropping season.
Pearl millet production increased by 132 percent from last season’s 39 032 tonnes to 90 683 tonnes while groundnut production increased from 87 498 tonnes to 208 864 tonnes, a 139 percent increase attributed a good rainy season.
Sunflower production also increased by 4 751 tonnes in 2020/2021 season, from last season’s 9 447 tonnes to 14 198 tonnes mainly owing to good and well distributed rains and increased Government input support towards the crop.
According to GMB, farmers who deliver grain to GMB depots will be paid in 72 hours while those delivering to collection points will be paid in five working days. A total of 1 389 buying points have been identified for the convenience of farmers. –