Traditional grain seed production to help Zimbabwe beat climate change shocks

-Cabinet has put in place robust measures encompassing irrigation and agricultural climate-proofing to maintain increased production.

John Cassim

Harare, Zimbabwe (CZ) – The Zimbabwean government has announced that the availability of traditional grain seed will be increased through packaging by ARDA and GMB, in the 2023/2024 season.

This is in line with the agricultural climate-proofing stance the Southern African nation has taken, aimed at achieving national food, feed, and edible oils self-sufficiency.

The move has been necessitated through financial support from the African Development Bank.

“Through financial support from the African Development Bank in the 2023/2024 season, Government will increase the percentage of traditional grains seed availability by ensuring that ARDA and GMB package standard traditional grains as seed for the 2023/2024 season,” a Cabinet statement issued this week, stated.

Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) and the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) are agricultural parastatals.

To incentivise the production of traditional grains, the Zimbabwean government has promised to announce planning prices and marketing modalities in August each year.

Selected farmers in 460 irrigation schemes will also be supported by timorously availing Presidential Inputs to them.

This is one of the measures among an assortment contained in the 2023/24 Summer Cropping Plan and State of Preparedness, approved by Cabinet on May 18, 2023.

Through this and other plans, the national target hectarage for strategic crops has been set at 3 040 000 ha with an expected yield of 3 782 658 metric tonnes (MT).

“The nation is informed that Zimbabwe has adequate grains in stock for the next two seasons.”
“However, the sensitivity analysis for the 2023/2024 season based on previous years’ analysis indicates reduced crop production.”
“Accordingly, Cabinet has put in place robust measures encompassing irrigation and agricultural climate-proofing to maintain increased production,” the Cabinet statement explained amid rising concerns about an El Nino in the 2023/2024 rainfall season.

According to the government, plans have been put in place to align crops grown with agroecological regions and swap grain through GMB to promote traditional grain production in regions 4 and 5.

Region 4 is located in the low-lying areas in the north and south of the country and is characterised by an annual rainfall of 450-650 mm, severe dry spells during the rainy season, and frequent seasonal droughts.

Rainfall in Region 5 is very erratic and usually less than 650 mm per year. Some parts of Region 5 like along the Zambezi River receive reasonable rainfall but owing to uneven topography and poor soils make it unsuitable for crop production.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top