Crop production to drop- CFU


Production by large-scale farmers in Zimbabwe is likely to further plunge this year because of the ongoing agrarian reform, Commercial Farmers Union president Doug Taylor Freeme says.

He says maize production by commercial farmers dropped from 800 000 tonnes in 2000 to 80 000 last year. Maize production this coming season could drop to between 50 000 and 60 000 tonnes, he says.

Communal farmers have been producing the bulk of the maize for national consumption but tend to retain most of their crop.

Deliveries to the Grain Marketing Board are said to have improved after the government increased the producer price to $300 000 per tonne.

Commercial farmers were the major producers of tobacco, wheat and soya beans.

Tobacco was the country’s largest foreign exchange earner but production has plunged from a peak of 230 million kilogrammes to just over 80 million kgs last year. The production is expected to drop to just over 50 million kgs next season.

The government says the crop for next season could be around 200 million kgs. There are fears that the announcement by the government that it is going to be the sole buyer of tobacco could kill the industry.

Agriculture Minister Joseph Made is reported to have announced the new move to “ensure that farmers get the best possible price”, but there are fears that this “meddling” could backfire.

Currently tobacco is sold at three auction floors, one owned by a consortium of indigenous business people. Though it is the latest entrant into the market it has been gaining market share.

Wheat production is also said to have plummeted from 360 000 in 2000 to about 30 000 tonnes. This has resulted in an acute shortage of bread and where available it is too expensive for most consumers.

Soyabean production has dropped from 175 000 to 30 000 tonnes.


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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