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Zimbabwe: Poor Grain Production Hurting The Economy

Market Situation
Maize (Corn)
Grain & Cereals
Jan 25, 2021
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Zimbabwe has been a net importer of food for the past 2 decades and the country's import bill has increasingly featured grain imports with maize imports averaging 1.1 million Metric Tonnes (MT) per year in the last 10 years, while wheat and soya beans account for 300 000MT and 150 000MT in import quantities respectively. National demand for maize stands at 2.1 million MT for industrial and domestic consumption.
Imports for these three raw grain commodities cost the country at least US$600 million in 2020 alone, thereby surpassing fuel imports (at US$499 million in the same period). This is before processed cereals and other agricultural commodities are factored into the import equation. Over the years, the country has been even importing millions worth of fresh commodities such as onions, potatoes, apples, pears, grapes and other vegetable products which should ordinarily be uncompetitive to transport into the country. Yield per hectare for maize (the staple crop) remains very low with average national yield less than 0.7 tons per hectare (Lower than the African average of 1.8 tons/ha). The yield is also lower than SADC peers who are largely affected by the same climatic conditions, with Namibia, Malawi and Mozambique at 1.2 tons/ha, Tanzania at 1.3 tons/ha, Zambia at 2.5 tons/ha and South Africa at 5.3 tons/ha. Consequently, Zimbabwe is now South Africa's largest maize market, ...
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