News / Africa

Zimbabwe Imports Corn to Avert Food Shortage

FILE - Zimbabwean women collect food aid from a distribution point in Mutawatawa, about 220km northeast of the capital, Harare on November 25, 2013.
FILE - Zimbabwean women collect food aid from a distribution point in Mutawatawa, about 220km northeast of the capital, Harare on November 25, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
— An estimated 2.2 million Zimbabweans are facing food insecurity in the country that once was known as the breadbasket of southern Africa.  Zimbabwe is now counting on imports of 150,000 tons of corn from South Africa to overcome a shortage. 

In 2000, Zimbabwe produced 2.1 million tons of corn.  Thirteen years later, the country produced 800,000 tons. The steep decline in corn production has led to the country importing more and more corn.

This year is no different, and with rainfalls less than expected, Zimbabwe just announced it will be importing 150,000 tons of corn from South Africa.

Zimbabwe's annual corn consumption, both as feed and for human consumption, is about 2 million tons, according to Jonathan Pound, an economist with the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization.

"They normally have to import quite a large quantity to satisfy their domestic requirements," he said.

But after a decent production year in 2012 of 1.4 million tons, a fall to 800,000 tons has left a larger gap to fill.

According to the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment committee, 2.2 million people -- one out of four people in rural areas -- will face food insecurity between January and March.

Zambia, also an exporter of corn to Zimbabwe, has also experienced a drop in production this year.

The lack of corn from its usual markets has put Zimbabwe in a tough position.

Pound says some rural regions of Zimbabwe have been hard hit.

"Zimbabwe, over the years, has always faced problems of food and security like many countries in the sub-region.  Obviously, there is a problem this year because production was reduced fairly significantly from the average and also from the previous year.  So many of the households, particularly in the western and southern regions, they faced supply shortage, so they weren't able to meet their consumption requirements," he said.

One of the issues has been rainfall. The majority of corn farmers in the country are solely dependent on rain to water their crops.

"For the 2013 crop, the rains weren't so favorable in the western and southern regions," Pound said. "So this had a large impact on production.  Especially because practically all of the maize produced by small holders is rain-fed as well, is not irrigated."

The country's corn production has dropped significantly over the last decade. In the early 2000s, white-owned commercial farms in the country were taken over, often by force, under President Robert Mugabe land redistribution program.  The new black owners often lacked the funds and experience to make their farms productive.

With the country remaining short on cash, corn production is unlikely to rise back to previous levels, barring an infusion of funds from abroad, and a year of very good rainfall.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jasper
January 11, 2014 11:03 PM
Given this situation, is it not as a result of the land seizures.

Perhaps Johnathan Pound and Peter Cox could explain the impact of this policy, how it was implemented and what the outcome was year on year and the cost to the economy, thereby giving a better understanding of the matter.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid