GIEWS Country Brief: Zimbabwe 18 January 2022



  • Uncertain prospects for 2022 cereal crops following mixed start to cropping season

  • Cereal production rebounded strongly in 2021 after two years of weather-reduced harvests

  • Reflecting large domestic supplies, cereal imports forecast to fall steeply in 2021/22 marketing year

  • Food price increases picked up at end of 2021, but remained lower than high rates in 2020

  • Food security conditions improve, but access constraints remain a concern

Uncertain outlook for 2022 cereal crops

Sowing of the 2022 cereal crops is nearly complete. Conditions for planting and crop emergence have been mostly favourable, reflecting near-average rainfall amounts across the country in November and early December 2021. A reduction in rainfall in the second half of December in northern parts of the country, where the bulk of the national maize crop is produced, combined with abnormally high temperatures, is likely to have been detrimental to crop growth. Although remote sensing data depicted slightly poorer-than-average vegetation conditions in northwestern areas, reflecting the reduced rains, vegetation health was generally near average in early January 2022 in most provinces of the country.

Looking further ahead, weather forecasts for February and March 2022 point to a higher-than-normal probability of reduced rainfall amounts. These months are generally a critical period for the development of cereal grains and water stress can cause large yield reductions.

The 2022 maize production is forecast at an above-average level, but substantially below the exceptional output of 2021.