GIEWS Country Brief: Zimbabwe 30-July-2012
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Drop in cereal production for 2011/12 cropping season following protracted dry spell in 2012
Seasonable increase in maize prices during first quarter of 2012, but prices decline and stabilise between March to June
The 2012 vulnerability assessment (ZimVAC) estimates that 1.67 million people will be food insecure during the forthcoming lean season (January-March 2013)
Sharp drop in maize production in the 2011/12 cropping season
Harvesting of main 2011/12 maize crop was completed in June 2012. Production forecasts, based on a Government assessment conducted in April, indicate a sharp drop in production compared with the previous season, on account of prolonged dry spell. At 968 000 tonnes, the estimated maize output in 2012 is about 33 percent below last year’s level and marks a reversal of the increasing trend since 2009. An estimated 722 557 hectares of maize were written off as result of moisture deficits, while delayed and erratic rainfall at the start of the 2011/12 rainy season (October-March) had already resulted in the contraction of maize plantings by about 20 percent compared with the previous season’s 2.1 million hectares. Similarly, millet and sorghum production are estimated at below 2011 levels, following reduced plantings and lower yields. Other major crops – groundnuts, soy beans, sunflower and sugar beans – also registered a decrease in production in the 2011/12 cropping season.
Overall, cereal production in 2012 is put at 1.13 million tonnes, nearly one third less than last year’s good output. This estimate also includes a forecast for the winter wheat crop, to be harvested from October. Despite early indications of favourable 2012 wheat output, the continuing difficulties facing wheat farmers, most notably an erratic and insufficient power supply, as well as constrained availability of financial credit, deterred an expansion in the planted area to wheat. As a result, wheat production is forecast at a lower level than last year.