Main News Zimbabwe

1,9m hectares under maize

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa addresses a post-Cabinet briefing in Harare yesterday.

Elita Chikwati

Agriculture Reporter 

A total of 1,9 million hectares of maize was planted by farmers during the 2020/21 summer cropping season registering an increase of 24 percent from the 1,5 million hectares last season.

The crop condition is generally fair to good while livestock condition is good and expected to continue improving due to availability of pastures.

This came out in the First Round Crop and Livestock Assessment report which was presented by Chairman of Cabinet Committee on Food Security and Nutrition, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga.

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Speaking at a post-Cabinet briefing yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the assessment was carried out from January 28 to February 2021 while the verification exercise by national teams took place from February 10 to 23, 2021.

“The objectives are also to assess the availability, accessibility and usage of inputs, assess the quality of the rainfall season, the crop growth stages and crop condition and to assess grazing and livestock condition, water supply, disease prevalence and control,” she said.

The crop and livestock assessment was also meant to review overall prospects for the season.

“The condition of livestock was generally fair to good during the assessment period and was expected to continue improving due to good condition of grazing currently available. 

“Government has initiated a pasture development programme through the Presidential Livestock Inputs Scheme which is meant to improve livestock nutrition in the drought-prone districts of the country,” she said.

The programme is targeting Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Masvingo, Midlands and Manicaland.

Minister Mutsvangwa said Government would accelerate rehabilitation of existing irrigation infrastructure and the development of new irrigation facilities where water bodies were available. 

Government would prioritise financing local production of vaccines and acaricides to reduce tick borne diseases and animal deaths while livestock production support schemes for vulnerable households and long-term financing schemes for commercial livestock producers would be instituted.

Cabinet also received and approved Ministerial Five-Year Plans compliant with the National Development Strategy 1: 2021-2025, which were presented by the Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Ministry.

The Ministry is seeking to enhance growth of a modern, sustainable and viable climate smart agriculture sector for the improvement of food security and nutrition status. 

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This is meant to increase farm incomes. 

Focus would be on the Agriculture Food Systems and Transformation Strategy, which was anchored on the Agriculture Recovery Plan; the Livestock Growth Plan; the Horticulture Recovery and Growth Plan; the Accelerated Irrigation Rehabilitation and Development Plan and the Integrated Agriculture Information Management Systems (AIMS) Implementation Plan.

HERALD