Govt re-affirms enough grain in stock until harvests Dr Jenfan Muswere

Mukudzei Chingwere Herald Reporter

THERE is enough maize and traditional grain in stock to satisfy all needs before the new harvests start coming in from April, Government said yesterday.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Jenfan Muswere provided the update after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, the first of 2024.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister Dr Anxious Masuka, presented the update on summer crops and tobacco marketing and his report was adopted by Cabinet.

Dr Muswere said Zimbabwe produced 2,57 million tonnes of maize and traditional grains during the last 2022-2023 season and Zimbabwe consumed 2,2 million tonnes of this maize or traditional grains, 1,8 tonnes for food and 400 000t for stock feed.

“This translates to 6 027 tonnes daily, with 4 931 tonnes going towards human consumption. The monthly human consumption requirement is 150 000 tonnes,” said Dr Muswere.

“Cabinet wishes to assure the nation that there will be enough grain before the commencement of the next maize or traditional grains intake in April 2024.

“Wheat stocks of 247 371 tonnes as at January 28, 2024 will last 11 months, at a monthly drawdown rate of 21 000 tonnes”.

The next wheat harvest starts well before the stocks expire.

Dr Muswere said pertaining to tobacco, 36,8 million kilogrammes have been exported this year, at an average price of US$7,33 per kilogramme compared to the 11,6 million kilogrammes exported over a similar period in 2023 at an average price of US$4,31 per kg.

He said most of the tobacco being sold in 2024 is destined for the Far East, Africa, the Middle East and European Union markets.

A total of 3 027 559 hectares were planted to crops during the present summer season out of the targeted 3 674 000 hectares.

“Of the total planted area, 1 676 274 hectares was planted to maize, 362 541 hectares to sorghum, 141 169 hectares to pearl millet, and 271 823 hectares to groundnuts,” said Dr Muswere.

“A cumulative 2 283 272 tonnes of maize and 271 623 tonnes of traditional grains is expected from the planted area.”

“A total of 11 932 505 plots which are equivalent to 744 588 hectares had been prepared under the Climate-Proofed Presidential Pfumvudza/Intwasa Programme by 20 November 2023, compared to the 5 867 292 plots equivalent to 366 706 hectares that had been prepared by November 21, 2022 and 4 602 209 plots equivalent to 287 640 hectares by November 19, 2021.

“This is a reflection that farmers are adopting the recommended climate-proofing interventions, especially during the El Nino condition.

“There is adequate water for irrigation, with the national dam storage level at 84.8 percent as at February 1, 2024.

“Cabinet also wishes to advise the public that the 31 percent reduction in water charges for farmers has since been effected as directed,” said Dr Muswere.

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