Impact of land grabs on agric devastating

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File pic: Underutilised land at Kondozi farm in Nyanga.

AGRICULTURAL output in Zimbabwe has been decimated with the production of all major crops, except citrus, dramatically falling between 2000 and 2015 owing to the chaotic land reform, drought and the deepening economic crisis engulfing the country, latest statistics show. According to statistics provided by the Commercial Farmers’ Union, wheat production plunged from 250 000 tonnes in 2000 to 50 000 tonnes last year, a variance of 80%. Wheat production plummeted to just 24 000 tonnes in 2013, the lowest output in the 15-year period. Maize production tumbled from slightly over two million tonnes to just 700 000 tonnes last year. The country’s lowest maize output within the period was in 2008 when only 417 000 tonnes was produced. Barley production has been whittled to less than half in the same period with last year’s output of 15 000 tonnes, a far cry from the 32 000 tonnes produced in 2000. Last year’s output was the lowest since 2000. Tobacco has also not been spared with production of flue-cured tobacco crashing from 236 000 tonnes to 199 000 tonnes last year. The lowest output of the crop during the 15-year period was in 2008 when only 49 000 tonnes was produced. There has been no recorded production of air-cured tobacco since 2013. Production plunged from 8 000 tonnes in 2000 to below a thousand tonnes between 2005 and 2012. Cotton production tumbled from 353 000 tonnes in 2000 to just 90 000 tonnes last year. The production levels of last year are the lowest in the 15 year period and the first time since 2000 that there has been less than 100 000 tonnes of cotton produced. Soya bean production fell from 150 000 tonnes in 2000 to just 45 000 tonnes last year. This means less than a third of soya beans was produced in 2015 compared to what was produced at the turn of the millennium.

— Staff Writer.

File pic: Underutilised land at Kondozi farm in Nyanga.

File pic: Underutilised land at Kondozi farm in Nyanga.

The lowest output of the crop in the period under review was in 2009 when 43 000 tonnes was produced. Tea production has also been severely affected with production nose diving from about 22 000 tonnes in 2000 to just 13 000 tonnes last year. The lowest output in the review period was recorded in 2009 and 2010 where 10 000 tonnes was produced in each of the two years. The dairy industry has also been hard hit with milk production falling from 187 million litres of milk produced in 2000 to 55 million litres of milk last year. The lowest output during the comparative period was a paltry 37 million litres produced in 2009. Beef production has been reduced from the slaughter of 605 000 head of cattle in 2000 to just 246 000 head of cattle last year. However, citrus production has bucked the trend increasing from 39 000 tonnes in 2000 to 43 000 tonnes last year.

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