Letters: Let’s make Zim agric, mining sectors work again

A sharp Zimdollar decline increasingly placed Zimdollar prices of goods and services beyond the reach of the poor.

THE latest Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) statistics show that the agricultural sector grew by 6,2% in 2022, down from 17,5% in 2021.

In terms of value-added, the sector was ranked third at 12% just after wholesale and retail trade (18,7%) and mining (13,2%).

The sector’s growth in 2022 was largely driven by crop production, which accounted for 80,5% of value-added.

The crops that recorded significant growth were wheat (11,3%), maize (6%), and soya beans (15,5%).

For 2023, Zimbabwe expects to harvest 2,3 million tonnes of the staple maize, a 58% jump from 2022 driven by favourable rains.

The annual cereal requirement is about 1,9 tonnes for human consumption and 450 000 tonnes for livestock, leaving a surplus.

Zimbabwe also expects to harvest about 280 996 tonnes of drought-resistant grains such as sorghum and millet, a 45% increase on the previous season, as the country seeks to limit the impact of climate change on household food security.

Zimbabwe is considering exporting surplus wheat from this year’s anticipated harvest of 420 000 tonnes, well above the country’s requirements of 360 000 tonnes a year.

Last year, a record harvest of over 375 000 tonnes was achieved from 80 000 hectares.

Authorities are reportedly working with crucial stakeholders like Zesa Holdings and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority to ensure an uninterrupted power supply and adequate water to support irrigation.

The 2023 harvests have improved food availability and access and are driving widespread minimal food insecurity outcomes in surplus-producing regions.

However, for deficit-producing regions, own-produced stocks will be short-lived due to low production.

Generally, urban areas are expected to face stressed food outcomes as high prices limit poor households’ purchasing power to meet their non-food needs.

A sharp Zimdollar decline increasingly placed Zimdollar prices of goods and services beyond the reach of the poor.

In mining, the latest ZimStat statistics show that the sector grew by 10,5% in 2022, up from 5,9% in 2021.

In terms of value-added, the sector was ranked second at 13,2%just after wholesale and retail trade (18,7%).

This growth was driven by the mining of metal ores, which accounted for 78,1% of mining value-added.

These include gold (18%), platinum group of minerals (PGMs) (10%), and lithium (236%).

Minerals remain the top export receipt generator, with seven key minerals contributing about 72% in May 2023 alone as follows: gold (24%), nickel mattes (18,3%), diamonds (10,1%), nickel ores (8,8%), ferro-chromium (6,4%), coke (2,7%) and platinum (1,4%).

In the first five months of 2023, these seven key minerals have contributed an average of 71,2% to total exports.

This translates to about US$1,87 billion of the US$2,59 billion reported by ZimStat for the January-May 2023 period.

Global prices of many mineral commodities are largely benefiting from the supply uncertainties posed by the Russia-Ukraine war and increasing resource nationalism.

Also, minerals and metals used in clean energy technologies like PGMs, lithium, nickel and rare earths are witnessing increased global demand due to the ongoing seismic shift towards green energy particularly in advanced nations.

However, Zimbabweans are not fully benefiting from these mineral resources due to increased natural resource misgovernance caused by:

lGaps in anti-corruption legal and judicial systems (weak regulatory and institutional framework, archaic mining legislation, lack of implementation of existing laws).

lDiscretionary powers and high politicisation of mining decision-making.

lInadequacy and discrepancies in corporate due diligence procedures.

lOpacity in beneficial ownership.

lPoor mineral trade and marketing.

lLack of due diligence and traceability of minerals.

lPorous ports of entry.-Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development


Shame on Zanu PF for coercing vendors to attend ED rallies

IS President Emmerson Mnangagwa aware that most of the people who are bussed to his rallies are threatened with violence if they refuse?

So when he talks about peace at his rallies, half the audience will not believe him because they would have been subjected to acts of violence and intimidation by his activists.

In a video clip that is circulating on social media, a Zanu PF activist is seen addressing terrified vendors, telling them that they must all leave their vending stalls and catch buses to attend a Zanu PF rally in Centenary.

So when Mnangagwa sees those large crowds, he must know that some of the people in the crowd would have been forced to attend.

This is disgraceful and must be stopped. I watched one of Mnangagwa’s addresses at a rally where he seemed to accuse the opposition of being violent, claiming that Zanu PF was a peace-loving party.

Far from it, Zanu PF is the most violent political party in Zimbabwe and Mnangagwa has a responsibility as first secretary and leader of the ruling party to restrain his supporters from engaging in violent behaviour.-Kennedy Kaitano

High cost of living continues to constrain household purchasing power

IN surplus-producing areas, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity outcomes are ongoing as households continue to consume own-produced food stocks and access income from food and cash crop sales.

In the deficit-producing areas, widespread Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes remain present in the post-harvest period. In some extreme deficit-production areas in the south, household food stocks from the 2023 harvest are gradually depleting, and households are likely to begin engaging in coping strategies indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes in August and September, earlier than normal.

In urban areas, the high cost of living and limited access to income is making it difficult for poor households to meet their non-food needs, driving Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes.

In July, the official and parallel market Zimdollar to United States dollar exchange rates declined by about 30% compared to June, following several government measures to stabilise the local currency.

In response to the strengthening of the Zimdollar and some businesses adhering to government’s call to adjust prices using the prevailing official exchange rates, some formal retail shops and businesses reduced the Zimdollar prices of some basic commodities by about 20% to 40%. Conversely, US dollar prices in formal shops increased by about 10% to 25%.

However, the US dollar prices of basic commodities in the informal markets have remained relatively stable and lower than US dollar prices in the formal markets.

Most households continue to access basic commodities from the informal markets.

In July, the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency reported that the cost of one month’s worth of food and non-food needs increased by about 10%, a slight increase compared to the 130% increase in June.

The high cost of living continues to constrain household purchasing power, particularly those earning in Zimdollar.

Most poor households across the country are increasing their engagement in self-employment and off-farm activities to earn income during the dry season.

In the drier parts of the country that experienced relatively poor crop production, most poor households increasingly rely on petty trade, remittances and artisanal mining for income, among others, although household earnings continue to be low. Some households in other areas with water access also engage in the production and sale of vegetables.

In high-production areas, some farmers continue to sell maize and other grains on open markets and the Grain Marketing Board, with the supply of maize on open markets expected up to early 2024, especially in surplus-producing areas.

As of early July, tobacco and cotton sales were more than 50% and 400% higher than last year, respectively, thereby contributing to improved access to income for some households in the tobacco and cotton growing areas.

Livestock prices are declining earlier than normal in some drier parts of the country as pasture availability, water access and livestock body conditions deteriorate in the dry winter season.-Famine Early Warning System Network


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