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February 01, 2012

Zimbabwe maize harvest to fall 35% on late rains

by Godfrey Marawanyika

Zimbabwe planted 247,000 hectares (610,350 acres) of corn from November to January, down from 379,993 hectares in same period a year earlier as a result of late rains, Agricultural Extension Services said.

The country’s farmers planted 130,944 hectares of sorghum and other small grains, compared with 136,131 hectares, the government organization, known as Agritex, said in a crop report handed out in Harare, the capital.

“It looks like this year is going to be a bad year, in terms of crop output,” said Seiso Moyo, the deputy agriculture minister. “We will inform government on what needs to be done, but indications are that it will not be a good year.”

The United Nations said Dec. 9 it was seeking $268 million to help feed as many as 1.45 million people in the country this year.

Cotton planting also decreased from last season. A total of 45,000 hectares were planted, compared with 107,727 hectares last season. Farmers planted soybeans on 5,079 hectares compared with 13,674 hectares, and tobacco on 39,393 hectares compared with 43,545 hectares.

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