Agric output to affect growth projections—CZI

THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) says the economy will grow this year but lower than government’s projection of 4,5%, as the unfavourable weather conditions will have an impact on agricultural output.

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

The economy is projected to grow by 4,5% this year spurred by growth in agriculture, according to the 2018 National Budget.

Speaking to NewsDay recently, CZI president, Sifelani Jabangwe said agriculture was projected to have a lower output due to erratic rainfall.

“There will be an impact depending on the severity of the impact on the various crops. If maize production is down by 20% that will affect the contribution to growth from agriculture and so on but in terms of the overall figure we believe that there is still going to be quite some growth,” he said.

“But, we believe it is slightly to be lower because the impact on agriculture could be around 20 to 30%. There are areas that have done well but there are areas that have been completely wiped out so it will maybe a 20 to 30% reduction in output.”

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s economic recovery plans are centred on expected gains in agriculture.

In the 2018 National Budget, agriculture was allocated 9% up from 7% in 2017. The sector is projected to grow by 10,7% this year.

Early this month, the Food and Agriculture Organisation found that prolonged dry spells, erratic rainfall, high temperatures and the presence of the voracious fall armyworm have significantly dampened Southern Africa’s agricultural season’s cereal production prospects.

The body said early action in the form of consolidating information through assessments and anticipatory measures that reduce the impact of threats would be crucial for an effective response.

But, FAO warned the damage may have already been done as “whether the dry spells continue, or a lot of rainfall is received within a short period, crop production is likely to be negatively affected and consequently, water supplies for humans and livestock”.

Another report by the Food and Nutrition Security Working Group Southern Africa had similar predictions.

“In the absence of consistent rains in February, dry conditions experienced in December to January will diminish water supplies for domestic, agricultural and commercial use. In other areas, including southern and central Mozambique, parts of southern Malawi and southern Zimbabwe, mild rains only returned in late January, by which time many crops had permanently wilted,” the report stated.

Despite this, Jabangwe said economic growth was still on track due to expected growth in other sectors such as mining and manufacturing, but lower than government’s 4,5% projection for the year.

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