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.
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

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends 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.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs