Zimbabwe forecasts maize output to triple after good rains


Zimbabwe expects to produce up to 1.8 million tonnes of the staple maize in 2017 from 512,000 tonnes last year due to good rains received this season, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) said on Wednesday.

An increase in production of other cereal crops was also forecast this year following a devastating El-Nino induced drought in 2016 which left 4 million of the nation's 14 million people in need of food aid.

RBZ governor John Mangudya said the favorable rains would boost agricultural productivity and help stimulate economic growth given that the country's economy was agriculture based.

"The good agricultural season that is anticipated to produce around 1,500,000 - 1,800,000 tonnes of maize and other cereals from 1,595,000 hectares requires government to mobilize funding for the Grain Marketing Board to purchase grain from farmers," the governor said in the 2017 first-half monetary policy statement.

He said cotton seed output was also forecast to rise to 100,000 tonnes from 32,000 tonnes last year.

Tobacco leaf output, the country's largest foreign currency earner, was expected to jump to between 200 million and 215 million kg from 183 million kg in 2016 due to an export incentive scheme introduced last November, the governor said.

The export incentive scheme is being financed through bond notes whose circulation now stands at 94 million since introduction in November.

The bond notes, also introduced to ease current cash shortages in the economy, are trading at par with the U.S. dollar.

Mangudya said the export incentive will also be extended to tourism to encourage foreign currency generation by the sector.


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