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Zimbabwe: Food Shortages Persist Despite Agricultural Improvements

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program says agricultural output has increased this year in Zimbabwe, but food shortages could still be severe.

In a joint report released Thursday the UN development agencies said good rainfall more than doubled production of the country's staple crop, maize.

They also said more liberal trade policies also meant imported food was more available.

But the report predicted that the high cost of fertilizer and uncertain electricity supplies needed for irrigation will mean record low wheat production.

General yields are extremely low and continue to be low,” said Peter Smerdon, spokesperson for the WFP. 2.8 million people out of 11 million will probably need food assistance in the coming year,” he said.