Zimbabwe is looking ahead to protect its farmers and this is the reason the country has announced a ban on grain imports following a devastating drought in 2016 that left over four million people in need of food aid.
For years the country has been suffering from low grain production and the primary reasons are lack of financing, drought and polity of President Robert Mugabe to seize land from white farmers.
For more than a decade Zimbabwe has relied on imports and foreign donors for maize, but this year the harvest is reported to be excellent due to a government scheme introduced last year to pay the farmers $390 a ton for maize harvests on the condition that part of the crop should be sold to the state.
According to chief economist Zimbabwe farmers union Prince Kuipa the government mobilised the farmers in the programme of contract farming nature under which the inputs were provided and in turn the farmers had to go to production.
He added, “Zimbabwe is expecting around three and a half million metric tonnes of maize against which two and a half metric tonnes is required for food security and then about 350,000 is required for livestock consumption. If you add that you realise that there is a surplus.”
Maize is the staple crop in Zimbabwe and most of the population survives on agriculture. About 70 percent of the people live in rural parts of the country.
This year the maize forecast is about 2 million tonnes. Last year it was 511,000.