SENIOR STAFF WRITER
©️ ZIMBABWEANS face starvation amid revelations that the country’s national cereal production for the 2019-2020 season has failed to meet national demand by a massive 50 percent, the Daily News reports.
This comes as the World Food Programme (WFP) has said the country is facing its worst hunger crisis in a decade, with half of the population — 7,7 million people — food-insecure.
According to the second round crop and livestock assessment report 2019/2020 season produced by the ministry of Agriculture last week, the country is food-insecure despite the fact that the estimated maize production is 907 628 metric tonnes (MT) which is 17 percent more than the 776 635MT produced during the 2018/2019 season.
“Traditional grains production for the 2019/2020 season is estimated at 152 515MT which is 103 percent more compared to 75 209MT in 2018/2019.
“The total cereal production is 1 060 143MT against a national cereal requirement of 2 227 782MT for human and livestock consumption.
“Cereal requirement for livestock is estimated at 450 000MT,” the report reads.
The failure to meet the national requirement, according to the report, was a result of the late onset of rains across the country and false starts in the southern and south-eastern parts of the country.
“This affected the crop establishment. Long dry spells in late December and January as well as the early cessation of the season negatively affected the planted crop,” the ministry said.
The increase recorded in the total cereal production compared to the previous season, according to the report, is attributed to increased support from the Presidential Input Scheme.
Sorghum production is expected to be 103 684MT which is 158 percent more than 40 215MT obtained during the 2018/2019 season while finger millet production is expected to be at 9 799MT which is 41 percent more than 6 947MT produced in the 2018/2019 season.
Pearl millet production, on the other hand, is expected to be at 39 032MT which is 39 percent more than 28 047MT obtained during 2018/2019 season.
Cereal requirement for livestock is estimated at 450 000MT. There was no carryover stock at GMB from the previous season hence a larger deficit compared to last year.
The 2019 Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee has however, projected that an estimated 5,5 million rural Zimbabweans are food-insecure during the peak of the 2019/20 lean season, with 3,8 million people in need of food assistance.
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