Zim now Southern Africa’s breadbasket – says govt official; adds land reform programme set good precedence

Spread This News

By William Milasi

AGRICULTURE Permanent Secretary John Bhasera has said Zimbabwe is now the breadbasket of the Southern African region following a raft of measures implemented by government.

Speaking during a recently held field day in Kwekwe, Bhasera said the country is now looking at sustaining and consolidating the status.

He added that the land reform programme in the 2000s, widely criticised for its violent nature, set a good precedence in Africa.

“Our issue is on how we can retain the bread basket status. We are already there being the bread basket of southern Africa, how do we sustain and consolidate on that status. We are only one of the two African countries which are flour and wheat self-sufficient. These developments are happening after the advent of the Second Republic.

“375 000 tonnes of wheat achieved in 2022, this is against an annual requirement of 360 000 tonnes metric tonnes of wheat. It means for the first time in many years, for the first time since wheat was produced in Zimbabwe around the 1960s we are flour and wheat self-sufficient,” he said.

According to Bhasera, the target set by President Emmerson Mnangagwa for Zimbabwe to be a US$8 billion agricultural economy by 2025 has since been achieved in one agricultural season.

Added Bhasera: “The President said we must reach an US$8 billion agricultural economy by 2025. Because of the vision and support we have reached US$8, 1 billion in 2021/2022 period. What we wanted to achieve in five years since 2020, we managed to achieve in one season or two seasons.

“In terms of maize production, we reached one of the second highest production output in 20212022 period2, 7 million metric tonnes and the highest ever is around 2, 8 million metric tonnes and it last happened in the 1980s and it happened after the advent of the new dispensation.”

Export earnings from cotton have also increased.

“Cotton was almost like a dead sector 2015/2016 season where our export earnings were around US$10 to US$15 million, now we are looking at US$80 to $90 million export earnings of cotton, it’s now on a rebound, the cotton sector is on a rebound.

“Livestock is also growing at a rate of 1 to 2 percent or three percent per year which is quite incredible. That’s our national herd. In 2019/2020 we were around 5, 2 million national herds now are talking of 5, 6 million national herds. Our target this year is to reach the 6 million mark. We are very positive that we will get there,” Bhasera said.