Zim 2014/15 cropping season bright
Harare – Zimbabwe’s crop production for 2014/15 farming season is set to grow by 3.4 percent owing to increased support to the sector and projections of good rains, the country’s finance and economic development minister, Patrick Chinamasa, has said.
Presenting the 2015 National Budget, Minister Chinamasa said food security was top on the government’s agenda.
“Prospects for the 2014/2015 agricultural season remain positive, and production in the main crops-maize, tobacco, cotton, among others-is expected to remain on the upward trend. Overall agricultural growth for 2015 is projected at 3.4 percent,” he said.
“This is on the backdrop of government’s continued commitment to prioritise food security, active private sector participation in financing agriculture, and improvements in farming methods.”
Figures released by government show that total flue cured tobacco output in 2014 amounted to 216 million kilograms, compared to 165.85 million kilograms realised in 2013.
Minister Chinamasa said consistent with the 2014/15 crop, about 86 751 tobacco growers had been registered by November 7.
“With a targeted overall hectarage of 90 000 hectares under the crop, tobacco output is projected at 222 million kg.
“In support of this planned output, the respective seed sales of about 1 032 869 kg were made by the cut of date of September 5, 2014,” he said.
He said estimates for 2015 indicate improved sugarcane output of 4.6 million tonnes.
The US$9.9 million intervention in cotton, he said, should reverse decline in output realised in 2014, under which production fell to an estimated 140 000 tonnes.
Zimbabwe’s 2013/14 season maize yield has increase 46 percent and is expected to surge further in 2015 leaving the country self-reliant.
In pursuit of increased agricultural production, Minister Chinamasa said government is setting aside US$2 million for extension services and this is being complimented by support from development partners.
In recent years, Zimbabwe has been importing maize from regional countries such as Malawi and Zambia. Like most Southern African countries, maize is Zimbabwe’s staple food. SADC has adopted a raft of measures to revolutionise the agricultural sector, which contributes between 4 percent and 27 percent of the regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and constitutes about 13 percent of total export earnings.
According to SADC, in the past decade, the agricultural growth rate in the region has averaged about 2.6 percent leaving most member states self-reliant in terms of food supplies.