Home » General » PRODUCTION OF SMALL GRAINS IN ZIMBABWE EXPECTED TO DECLINE

HARARE, Feb 13 — Production of small grains in Zimbabwe is expected to decline this year as communal farmers are forced to recycle seed because of shortages, say the chairman of the Small Grains and Cereal Producers Association, Basil Nyabadza.

He told New Ziana here Thursday that agricultural inputs for small grains were scarce on the local market coupled with high prices. “We are expecting a reduced yield compared to last year. Although it is still early to make projections but by merely looking at the challenges that farmers experienced production output is expected to go down,” he added.

“Shortage of seed was one of the major problems and this resulted in prices going up. Even under the Presidential Input Scheme farmers did not receive inputs on time,” he said.

Small grains account for a significant percentage in the gross agricultural production of the country and the government has been on a drive to promote their production to boost food security, especially in drought-prone areas like Masvingo, parts of the Midlands and Matabeleland provinces.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care has also been advocating the consumption of small grains since they are high in nutrition.

Nyabadza said most parts of the country were experiencing inconsistent rains. “Areas like Matebeleland South, Matebeleland North, parts of Masvingo, Mashonaland East and Manicaland (provinces) have been experiencing a dry spell,” he said.

He said high costs of fertilizers would also affect production output as many farmers could not afford them.
Traditionally, few farmers have grown small grains due to lack of markets and many have opted for cash crops such as maize, tobacco and cotton which they can easily sell.

SOURCE: NEW ZIANA

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