Zimbabwe face severe food shortages

The Zimbabwe food situation is set to worsen after the preparations for the country’s winter wheat crop failed. The state media is reporting that only 13 percent of the planned winter wheat crop has been planted. Zimbabwe’s winter wheat crop needed to be planted by May 10, after which the rate of germination of the seed and development of kernels on the plant become increasingly negligible. According to the Herald newspaper only 8 963 hectares of wheat had been planted.

“We have missed the target, with challenges being shortages of fertilisers and fuel as well as frequent breakdowns of tillage facilities,” Agriculture Minister Rugare Gumbo told the Herald.

Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe, recently announced that the country had imported some 600 000 tonnes of maize. But even that will not be enough to make up the shortfall, an analyst at the U.N Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said.

Last year output was down 44 percent. This year we are expecting even further decrease in maize and cereal production,” said Kisan Gunjal, an FAO economist who went to Zimbabwe at the government’s request to analyse the food situation.

Whilst president Mugabe always blames the Western governments for the current problems in Zimbabwe. Most analysts blame the Zimbabwe food shortages on the government policies. Most of the country’s food problems began when the government allowed war veterans to invade commercial farms.

The government’s often violent land redistribution policy destroyed the country’s agricultural sector. Most of the prime agricultural land lie under utilised, agricultural equipment on the farms was either destroyed or sold.

There is a severe shortage of foreign currency in the country, and the government has so far failed to provide any meaningful assistance with agricultural implements to the resettled farmers.

With a general shortage of electricity in the country, and also the announced expected increases in load shedding by ZESA, there will be more disruptions in the production of the winter wheat crop.

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