This report covers the period from 5/31/2007 to 6/29/2007
There is a general consensus that Zimbabwe's 2006/07 cereal production has to be complemented by imports of over 1 million MT if the country is to meet cereal requirements for the 2007/08 consumption year. The government and donor community need to mobilize for an immediate and coordinated response to address the growing levels of food insecurity in the country. The recent joint FAO and WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment mission (CFSAM) estimated total cereal production at 1,055,000 MT, an amount 315,000 MT higher than earlier estimates by the Ministry of Agriculture. According to the CFSAM estimate, Zimbabwe faces a shortfall of maize, sorghum and millets of 1,052,000 MT, of which maize comprises 813,000 MT. The government has made arrangements with Malawi to import 400,000 MT of maize this marketing year. To date, 70,000 MT have been delivered. However, a significant gap remains, and to close it, the Government of Zimbabwe, humanitarian agencies, donor community and other relevant and interested partners have to work out plans to address the food insecurity problems faced by the nation.
In June 2007, the availability of cereals in rural areas declined as most households, particularly those in the southern and western parts of the country, are already running out of their food stocks from their current harvests, and alternative sources, including farmer to farmer transactions and GMB supplies, are erratic. Most of the farmers in southern and western Zimbabwe did not have a good harvest from the 2006/07 agricultural season. The steady rise in maize grain prices has made it difficult for this season's deficit farmers to access the commodity. The annual rate of inflation has continuously increased, and most households have not been able to meet their minimum food and non]food requirements, and instead have cut back on expenses for education, transport and medical services. Current winter wheat production is likely to range between 120,000 MT and 135,000 MT, slightly less than last season's crop production of 144,000 MT and near the average for the last five years. Problems encountered by wheat farmers last year persisted this year; shortages of fertilizer, fuel, and farming equipment and the late disbursement of funds have induced farmers to reduce the area planted to the winter crop.