FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops & Shortages 1-2/00 - Zimbabwe

Normal to above normal rains in the first dekad of February provided relief to the 1999/2000 cereal crops stressed by dry weather in late January. Although rains have been erratic since the beginning of the season, growing conditions are generally adequate for the developing crops. However, the outlook for the harvest is poor as a result of a decline in the area planted from both last year and the average level. This reflects a widespread dry spell in December, that adversely affecting sowing operations, as well as diversion of land to other crops following low support prices for maize, coupled with high prices and low availability of agricultural inputs.
The 1999 wheat crop, harvested until last November, was estimated record at 320 000 tonnes. The increase reflected higher plantings and yields.

The overall food supply situation is satisfactory following the recovery on last year production and adequate levels of maize imports so far. However, prices are reported on the increase in deficit areas, as well as in urban areas.