Emergency need for grain
THE 2015/2016 maize crop condition in Masvingo and Matabeleland threaten the food security of the two provinces.
In its latest report, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fewsnet) says Zimbabwe’s area cropped for the 2015 and 2016 season is expected to be below average due to dry conditions.
“Already, regional food supplies are limited, staple food prices are higher than average, and acute food insecurity is more prevalent than usual due to poor crop harvests in early 2015. An estimated 2,5 million people are classified as in crisis,” Fewsnet said.
“If the abnormally hot and dry conditions persist, a regional food security crisis, including a substantial increase in the size of the acutely food insecure population, is considered likely in the latter half of 2016 and early 2017.”
Zimbabwe Farmers Union president Abdul Nyathi said province sin the south, Masvingo and Matabeleland had been severely affected.
Fewsnet said the 2015/2016 drought was the worst ever recorded in the region in 30 years.
“Most countries in the region are likely to experience an extended lean season by at least a month due to the effects of late planting experienced across the region. The start of the green harvest, which normally provides alternative sources of food to most poor households, is expected to start around mid-March compared to the usual February.
Regional cereal stocks in some surplus countries is limited. Zambia, which was the highest exporting country in the region last year, is left with exportable stocks of approximately 200 000 tonnes and the decrease in exportable stocks in the region will likely result in significant price increases during the peak of the lean season in March, especially in Malawi and Zimbabwe.
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