Zim on cusp of recouping ‘Breadbasket of Africa’ status

THE country is firmly on course to reclaim its ‘Breadbasket of Africa’ status as the Government’s cocktail of interventions to boost agricultural production and achieve food self-sufficiency, as well as produce surplus for export, have started yielding positive results setting the stage for the country to resume grain exports.

Speaking at a winter wheat field day in Banket recently, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development permanent secretary Dr John Basera said the surplus being achieved in production output for strategic crops had resulted in Zimbabwe unlocking the export market.“Significant growth is being recorded in maize production, the horticulture sector and wheat industry following a record winter wheat harvest last year,” said Dr Basera.

The country has received more than 350 000 tonnes of maize export requests and will start by moving 40 000 tonnes to Rwanda, while processing a request from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).“Zimbabwe has adequate grains in stock for the next two seasons as we have managed to produce 2, 3 million tonnes this year with a carry-over stock of 300 000 tonnes from the previous season,” said Dr Basera.

The country will therefore start exporting wheat in the region this year with an expected harvest of 430 000 tonnes from a record 86 000 hectares.Dr Basera said the country was taking advantage of the wheat markets that are in Mozambique, adding that disturbances of the global supply chain from the Eastern Europe conflict necessitated Africa to look more inward in terms of production.

The success being recorded in the sector is a result of Government’s Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy, which has managed to propel the country’s food production through increased productivity and maximum land utilisation.

Dr Basera said Zimbabwe had realised significant smart and sharp growth in the agriculture sector to make the country food secure and achieve surplus.“We had planned to grow at this magnitude in five years but we managed to realise that progression in two seasons and now we are looking to grow our exports to boost earnings in agriculture,” he said.

The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development has made significant strides in improving the competitiveness of the country’s agricultural products through innovation and research.In addition, the country’s horticultural exports are also set to grow this year owing to growing desire among producers to venture into export business amid the rising interest from buyers to source from local producers.

“In a space of five years’ horticultural exports have increased quite significantly from US$30 million to US$70 million in earnings this year,” said Dr Basera.Under the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy, the country has managed to reverse the negative trends of food production in the country experienced since the land reform programme.

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