By Ndafadza Madanha
A preliminary cereal sufficiency report carried out by the ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement and presented to cabinet has indicated that the nation expects to produce a paltry 714 598 metric tonnes of cereal grains in the 2018/2019.
The figure excludes the 500 000 metric tonnes in the strategic grain reserve at the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).
Addressing media personnel at the post cabinet briefing minister of Information and Publicity Monica Mutsvangwa said government was aware that food will not be enough until the next harvest and various measures are been explored to address the situation.
“Cabinet received a preliminary cereal sufficiency report for the 2018/19 agricultural season, from the minister of Land, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. The report showed that cereal production in 2018/19 is projected at 714 598 metric tonnes of cereal grains. This excludes what we have in the strategic grain reserve at GMB. Government is taking steps to ensure that the national food security is guaranteed. Among the steps we are taking is to ensure that winter crops are to include maize and sweet potatoes”.
Zimbabwe alongside other countries in the Southern Africa region received below normal rainfall for the 2018-19 owing to the El Nino phenomenon.
According to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network EL Nino will have negative impact on the coming agriculture season both in terms of harvests and labor opportunities in the SADC region.
The situation is compounded by Cyclone Idai which left a trail of disaster in the country’s five provinces while affecting Mozambique and Malawi.
Meanwhile cabinet received an update on the Water Infrastructure tender soliciting for potential investments for the development of 19 large dams and water supply projects under Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) arrangements.
Among the water infrastructure projects involved are the Kondo-Chitowe Chisumbanje Irrigation Project, Kudu Dam and Irrigation Project, Muda Nyatsime Chitungwiza Water Supply Project and National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Supply Project.
The projects are expected to augment water supply for urban, industrial and agriculture use.