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September 08, 2011

Southern Africa maize harvests, 2011

 by Olivia Kumwenda

The continent's largest maize producer harvested its biggest crop in three decades at 12.815 million tonnes in the 2009/10 season. South Africa's annual maize consumption is between 8 and 9 million tonnes and the surplus is destined for export.

It expects a harvest of around 11 million tonnes for the 2010/11 season.

ZAMBIA - Zambia produced 2.8 million tonnes of maize in the 2009/2010 season. Zambia planned to export some of the surplus to other countries in and outside the region.

Zambia sees maize production for the 2010/11 season to be just over 3 million tonnes and has drawn up an investment plan to build new storage facilities with a capacity of 700,000 tonnes before the next harvest.

The harvests have improved thanks in part to a government programme that provides subsidised seed and fertiliser to small-scale farmers.

MALAWI - Malawi is expected to harvest 3.8 million tonnes of maize this year, up from the 3.5 million the previous year. This represents a surplus of 1.2 million tonnes.

It introduced a fertiliser and seed subsidy programme in 2004 and since then has recorded consecutive bumper harvests of maize.

ZIMBABWE - Finance Minister Tendai Biti said last month Zimbabwe the country is expected to harvest about 1.45 million tonnes of grain in 2010/2011 season, up from 1.32 million tonnes in 2009/10.

United Nations agencies have said Zimbabwe needs an extra $73 million in humanitarian aid this year, mainly due to increased food needs for vulnerable groups despite improvements in the agriculture sector.

The country has grappled with food shortages that are often attributed to disruptions caused by President Robert Mugabe's seizure of white-owned commercial farms for black resettlement.

Since a political settlement between Mugabe and arch-rival Morgan Tsvangirai in 2009, Zimbabwe's farm sector has started to recover, with maize production seen rising on the back of more support for farmers and the adoption of hard currencies.


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