WANDILE SIHLOBO: What I got wrong about Zimbabwe’s maize outlook
The signals are that import needs may be far lower than anticipated
Zimbabwe was one of the countries I worried would have a maize supply shortage in 2023. This was after data from the Pretoria office of the US department of agriculture showed that Zimbabwe’s 2022/23 maize production would amount to 1.5-million tonnes, little more than half of the ample harvest of 2.7-million tonnes of the 2020/21 production season.
While this would have been a minor improvement on the 2021/22 production season’s maize harvest of 1.4-million tonnes, it would be 25% short of the country’s annual maize need of about 2-million tonnes. I feared Zimbabwe would have to import about half a million tonnes to fulfil its annual need and another half million tonnes to replenish its grain reserves, since the Zimbabwe Grain Marketing Board is mandated to maintain a minimum of half a million tonnes of strategic maize reserve in physical stocks. ..
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