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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More