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Nation on course to achieve maize target

Maize deliveries to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) have surpassed 900 000 tonnes for the period April to date, officials said, compared to the 138 000 tonnes of grain received over the same period last year.

Notably, authorities are still hopeful of hitting the 1,8 million tonnes target, as more farmers appear to be more confident about the next agricultural season, following the drought that parched the country in 2020.

The marketing season starts from April 1 of each year to March 31 of the following year “and we are well on course as we are still receiving grain from farmers,” GMB chief executive Mr Rockie Mutenha said last week.

“The ongoing grain intake season is proceeding well compared to the same period last year,” he added.

Still at about 50 percent, weekly inflows had dropped but prospects for another good harvest could boost deliveries, some analysts say.

The 1,8 million tonnes is what the Government has projected would be delivered to the national solos. But total national production is estimated at 2,8 million tonnes, three times higher than 900 000 tonnes produced a year earlier. Maize deliveries to the national granary reached about 170 000 tonnes last year, according to the GMB.

Zimbabwe needs about 1,8 million tonnes of maize, its staple annually but observers have downplayed potential food insecurity even if the target is missed because many households are holding enough stocks to take them through the next harvest.

Indications were that while the country managed a bumper harvest, following a good rains in 2020-2021 farming season, some farmers were reluctant to deliver their grain to GMB before they were certain of a good rainfall in 2021 and 2022.

“Given the unpredictability of weather patterns and back to back droughts experienced in the past two seasons, even those who had surplus might have decided to hold on to their maize because they were not sure if the country would receive good rains in the coming season.

So with another good season anticipated, deliveries might improve.”

At this time of the year after a bad season, maize prices normally start picking up but they have largely remained stable.

The stability is likely to be sustained after initial weather forecasts show the region would receive normal to above normal rains.

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