Zimbabwe’s maize yields for 2021 a good, but not good enough: Here is why
There has been widespread glee over the performance of the grain production sector with yields estimated to exceed 2,7 million metric tonnes. A superficial look would bring us much joy that the production of this year’s grain owing to favourable climatic conditions but a deeper delve into the specifics would show you that there is still a lot needed before we can celebrate.
The first reason for the high grain product is that more land was cleared for maize in the agricultural season reaching a peak of 2 million hectares. Simple mathematics will deduct that obtaining 2,7 million metric tonnes from 2 million hectares is around 1 tonne per hectare which is a lot less than the normal 16 tonnes per hectare.
The Maize production sector lacks skilled input as well as commercialised precision farming methods that can intensively utilise the land.
The Government however has tried to compensate farmers well as they are buying grain at high prices, more than most countries in the region, which will, in turn, ensure the vitality of production from farmers.
The government will need to invest more in maize production by offering more loans to commercial farmers as well as injecting more subsidies to enable precision farming rather than just clearing of land which will be retrogressive if the subject of climate change is introduced. The government will need to clear arrears to farmers that have sold to the Grain marketing board in the past.