Maize hectarage up by 3%

Selecting best maize variety

FARMERS reportedly planted an estimated 1 962 575 hectares of maize in the 2022/23 agricultural season, representing a 3% increase from the 1 903 668 hectares planted last season, statistics from the Crop, Livestock and Fisheries assessment report show.

The report attributed the increase to good rains experienced in most parts of the country so far, with a significant increase of area planted recorded in Manicaland and Midlands provinces.

“Area planted to maize increased by 3% from 1 903 668ha to 1 962 575ha. A significant increase in area planted was recorded in Manicaland and Midlands provinces, while no significant changes were noted in Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central.

“The crop planted from November to early December was well established due to the good rains experienced in most parts of the country. The earliest planted maize crop is now at the late reproductive or maturity stage and is in good condition. Therefore, the crop stage ranges from early to late vegetative stage for December and the January crop to maturity stage from November to early January,” the report said.

According to the report, the communal sector contributed the biggest chunk of area planted under maize at 62%, while the large-scale and A2 contributed 8% of the area under maize, which is a 2 percentage points decrease from 10% in the 2021/22 season.

Of the 1 962 575ha under maize, 49% had been planted by end of November 2022, 42% was planted in December 2022 and 9% was planted in January 2023.

The biggest area ever planted under maize was 2 096 034ha achieved in the 2010/11 season.

The assessment report also revealed that there was a general increase in area planted for most horticultural crops in the 2022/23 agricultural season.

Meanwhile, the area under blueberry increased by 54% from 328ha in the 2021/22 season to 506ha in the 2022/23 season, with sugarcane maintaining a positive record with a 7% increase from 74 684ha in the 2021/22 season to 79 722ha in the current season.

In a recent interview with our sister paper Zimbabwe Independent, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development ministry permanent secretary John Basera said the country was targeting to produce 2,9 million tonnes of maize.

“The ministry is still confident that the target of producing over 2,9 million metric tonnes (mt) of maize, from over 1,9 million hectares, is possible,” said Basera.

“The dairy sector is also expanding, as witnessed by a jump of 14,3% from 79,6 million litres produced in 2021 to 91 million litres in 2022. Similarly, the horticultural sector is fast expanding (following the) establishment of a US$30 million fund. Export blueberry production increased by 34% from 3 500mt in 2021 to 4 700mt in 2022. This subsector is poised to reach 6 500mt by the end of 2023,” he added.

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