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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid