Zimbabwe’s corn production estimate for the 2011/12 MY is 1.4 million MT on an area of 1.6 million hectares compared to 900,000 MT on 1.35 million hectares the previous season.
THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY
USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT
GAIN Report Number:
Grain and Feed Annual
Grain and Feed
Zimbabwe?s corn production estimate for the 2011/12 MY is 1.4 million MT on an area of 1.6 million
hectares compared to 900,000 MT on 1.35 million hectares the previous season. The main reasons for
the increase in corn production were the availability of subsidized seed and fertilizer, early planting in
the northern main corn producing area, and above average rainfall. However, Zimbabwe will have to
import more than 100,000 tons of corn to meet local demand. Preliminary estimates are that only about
6,000 hectares of wheat had been planted for the 2011/12 MY, compared to 12,000 hectares in the
2010/11 MY. Zimbabwe will have to import at least 280,000 tons of wheat to meet local demand.
The 2011/12 MY started well, but a dry spell varying in duration from 10 days to about six weeks set in
at the end of January and affected the corn area. However, the 2011/12 MY corn crop will improve
compared to last season. Timely availability and improved supply of inputs contributed to the improved
corn production, estimated at about 1.4 million MT from an area planted of approximately 1.6 million
hectares. The projected corn deficit of about 100,000 MT is expected to be met mainly through
The declining trend in wheat production is continuing. A preliminary estimate of wheat area planted in
2011 is 6,400 hectares compared to the 2010 area planted of about 12,000 hectares. Wheat production in
2011 is forecast at about 12,000 MT, a decline of more than 50 percent from the previous season.
The season for corn planted for the 2011/12 MY started well with most parts of Zimbabwe receiving
above average rainfall around mid-November. The bulk of the corn crop was planted from November
to mid- December. Rainfall was well distributed from November to the end of January when a dry spell
set in throughout the country. Most parts of the country experienced dry spells of at least 10 days
between February and March. The southern half of the country covering the provinces of Masvingo,
Matabeleland South and the southern parts of Manicaland and Midlands provinces were the most
affected and had pro-longed dry spells that lasted up to six weeks in some areas. However, the major
corn producing provinces of Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central in the northern part of the
country did not experience long dry spells and corn production was not adversely affected. Corn
production from these two provinces contributes approximately 46 percent of Zimbabwe?s corn harvest.
Seed corn production up
During planting season Zimbabwe had adequate corn seed available after local seed companies
produced an estimated 48,000MT of corn seed, comprising of 38,000MT of hybrid seed and 10,000MT
of open pollinated varieties. This was in contrast to the 2010/11 MY when 40 percent of the country?s
corn seed requirement was imported from South Africa, Zambia and Malawi, while in the 2009/10 MY
only 6,000MT of corn seed was locally produced. National corn seed requirements are estimated at
around 30,000MT per annum. The country?s largest seed company produced 24,000MT of hybrid corn
seed, but sold only 9,000MT and currently has 15,000MT carryover corn seed in stock. The company
expects 30,000MT corn seed from its 2011/12 marketing season corn seed production contractors. The
other seed companies expect 15,000MT corn seed, bringing the total corn seed available for the 2012/13
marketing season to 60,000MT, in excess of national requirements. Dollarization of the economy and
the lifting of price controls encouraged many growers to resume seed production. Intensive training of
small scale seed growers by individual seed companies also led to increased seed production.
Government subsidized corn seed was also available to small scale farmers through various Grain
Marketing Board (GMB) depots around the country. The subsidized seed cost was $5 to $10/10kg
compared to the commercial market price of $22/10kg. It is estimated that government subsidized seed
accounted for about 60 percent of seed sales this season.
There was also significant improvement in availability of fertilizer this season due to increased local
production. The local industry supplied the market with approximately 330,000MT of fertilizer for the
summer crop, compared to only 200,000MT the previous season and 100,000MT two seasons back.
Though it was not possible to fully quantify, substantial quantities of fertilizer were also imported to
augment local production. In 2009, the Zimbabwean government relaxed duties on fertilizer imports.
An estimated 78,000MT of ammonium nitrate was imported after the sole local producer of ammonium
nitrate failed to meet local requirements because of constraints of power outages and constant
equipment breakdowns. It only produced 40 percent of its capacity.
Subsidized fertilizer was also available to small scale farmers at $15/50kg bag compared to the market
price of $27/50kg bag. The larger scale farmers were not beneficiaries of subsidized inputs.
Corn production prospects improved but deficit persists
The outlook is for an improved corn harvest in 2011/12 MY compared to the 2010/11 MY harvest
premised on improved seed availability, early planting in the northern main corn producing area and
improved availability of fertilizer. Post?s corn production estimate for the 2011/12 MY is 1.4 million
MT on an area of 1.6 million hectares, compared to 900,000 MT on 1.35 million hectares the previous
season. In the 2009/10 MY, corn production was only 650,000 MT on 1.1 million hectares. The
average yield in the 2011/12 MY was 0.88 MT/ha compare to 0.66 MT/ha and 0.59 tons/ha in the
2010/11 MY and 2009/10 MY, respectively. A national corn deficit of about 200,000MT is estimated
and it will be covered through commercial and food aid imports. The official government estimate of
corn production in the 2011/12 MY is 1.452 million MT from a planted area of 2.096 million hectares
with a national average yield of 0.69 MT/ha.
The current producer price for corn in Zimbabwe is between US$220/MT and US$250/MT, slightly
lower than the April grain prices. The usual trend is that corn prices decline between April and June due
to improvements in cereal availability following the harvests. The GMB corn floor price was increased
in May from US$275/ton to US$285/ton and is above the import parity price of US$220/ton. However,
the GMB currently has a budget to buy only about 230,000 MT of grain. In the 2010/11 MY season, the
GMB did not have adequate cash flow and took a long time to pay farmers for their deliveries, hence
ending up giving famers corn seed equivalent in value to corn deliveries made.
Consumption complicated by population estimates
Corn consumption is estimated at 120kg per person per year. Computation of the country?s human
domestic consumption is complicated by the country?s population estimate. The lack of official data on
the extent of emigration from Zimbabwe over recent years has resulted in different population estimates
being used by different organizations. The Central Statistical Office (renamed ZIMSTATS) has the
lowest estimate of 350,000 emigrants, while the Ministry of Finance has the highest estimate of about 4
million emigrants. The Central Statistics Office projects a national population estimate of 12,336,046
for 2010. The basis of the 2011/12 MY consumption calculations are on a population estimate of 12
million. Hence, Zimbabwe?s human corn consumption for the 2011/12 MY is estimated at 1.4 million
MT. Zimbabwe?s fourth population census will be conducted in August 2012.
Feed use down on declining livestock numbers
Feed use is estimated at 50,000 MT annually and is limited mainly to dairy, poultry and pigs. The beef
and dairy sectors are in decline following the culling of livestock in recent years due to the land reform
program and in response to droughts. The dairy herd has declined from a peak of about 192,000 in
1990/91 season to the current 20,000. The commercial beef herd has also gone down from about
800,000 pre-land reforms to about 200,000 currently. Pig production is also declining mainly due to the
shortage of soybean, a major component of pig stock feed.
Annual corn seed requirement is estimated at between 30,000MT and 33,000MT, but for planning
purposes government calculates seed requirements using the recommended seed rates and area forecast
to be planted in the following season. Hence, the official corn seed requirement for next season is
approximately 50,000MT, i.e. adequate to plant 2 million hectares at the recommended rate of 25kg/ha.
Thus, the total corn consumption in 2011/12 MY is estimated at 1.5 million MT.
Consumption of newly harvested grain from own production has started in most corn producing areas,
contributing to improvement of the food security in most parts of the country. The southern parts of the
country will have to rely on purchases for consumption due to the anticipated poor harvests. Food aid
assistance ended in March 2011, although USDA?s Local and Regional Purchase Pilot Program
distributed South African corn through a grant with UMCOR.
The Commodities Exchange in Zimbabwe (COMEZ) that was launched in Harare in mid-January 2011
is still not trading. Indications are that COMEZ may start trading only in the next agricultural season.
The large grain milling companies are now major importers of white corn from other SADC countries
like Zambia, Malawi, South Africa and Mozambique, where corn imports from these countries is
generally cheaper than the locally produced corn. The table below shows monthly corn imports from
SADC countries as captured by ZIMSTATS from May 2010 to April 2011.
Table 1: Monthly corn imports to Zimbabwe from May 2010 to April 2011
Year and month Corn Imports (MT)
2010 Zambia Malawi South Africa Mozambique Total
May 144 20,900 21,044
June 8,927 8,927
July 93 3,060 3,153
August 387 120 1,338 1,845
September 1,080 60 1,186 2,326
October 4,426 9,092 2,560 16,078
November 12,811 1,246 55 14,112
December 22,442 4,802 132 27,376
January 32,585 8,913 30 1,429 42,957
February 39,272 14,418 2,502 1,172 57,364
March 41,236 12,304 1,517 410 55,467
April 44,496 13,381 2,179 60,056
Total 198,828 54,142 52,109 5,626 310,705
Source: ZIMSTATS - Ministry of Finance
Zimbabwe imported about 310,705MT corn mainly from Zambia, South Africa and Malawi in MY
2010/11. Although money market liquidity in the country is tight because of the absence of direct
foreign investment and credit lines, the major importers make other financial arrangements with their
suppliers to ensure consistent supply of the commodity.
The import data excludes informal cross border corn trade that is assumed to be of a significant
magnitude. The latter will be monitored by COMESA starting in June 2011 and this will improve the
current corn trade estimates.
Zimbabwe corn PSD table
Corn Zimbabwe 2009/2010 2010/2011 2011/2012
Market Year Begin: May Market Year Begin: May Market Year Begin: May
2009 2010 2011
USDA Official New Post USDA Official New Post USDA Official New Post
Area Harvested 1,100 1,100 1,350 1,350 1,600 1,600
Beginning Stocks 0 0 25 0 25 0
Production 650 650 1,000 900 1,400 1,400
MY Imports 300 550 200 400 100 100
TY Imports 300 500 200 400 100 100
TY Imp. from 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total Supply 950 1,200 1,225 1,300 1,525 1,500
MY Exports 0 0 0 0 0 0
TY Exports 0 0 0 0 0 0
Feed and Residual 50 50 50 50 50 50
FSI Consumption 875 1,150 1,150 1,250 1,300 1,450
Total 925 1,200 1,200 1,300 1,350 1,500
Ending Stocks 25 0 25 0 175 0
Total Distribution 950 1,200 1,225 1,300 1,525 1,500
1000 HA, 1000 MT, MT/HA
Wheat in Zimbabwe is produced in the cool dry winter months completely under irrigation. The
Government?s target for winter wheat in 2011 of 45,000 hectares has not been achieved. Preliminary
estimates are that about 6,000 hectares of wheat had been planted prior to the planting deadline of 15th
May compared to about 12,000 hectares in the 2010 winter cropping season. Wheat area planted and
production have been sharply declining over the last decade mainly due to low profit margins, funding
challenges and unreliable power supplies. Unavailability of long term loans, high rates of interest,
ranging between 14 percent and 30 percent, and unavailability of cheap lines of credit have contributed
to the steep decline in area planted in the last two years. Local financial institutions are offering short-
term loans with high interest rates.
To address the problem of funding the government in March announced a US$10 million financial
support facility for the 2011 wheat crop, enough to support an estimated 10,000 hectares. Under the
initiative, wheat producers would procure wheat seed and fertilizer at subsidized prices of US$15/25kg
and US$15 /50kg respectively, compared to the market prices of US$30/25kg and US$32 /50kg.
However, the disbursement of inputs to GMB depots was delayed and the majority of farmers did not
have access to inputs during the recommended planting period.
The wheat consumption trend has gone up due to the stable supplies of the commodity following
dollarization and liberation of grain trade. Per capita wheat consumption is estimated at 25kg per
annum. Based on the population estimate of 12 million, the country?s estimated annual requirement for
wheat is about 300,000MT, against the 2011 national wheat production forecast of about 12,000MT.
Local price of bread has remained consistent throughout the year with a standard loaf costing on average
US85 cents and a superior loaf costing US$1.00.
Between May 2010 and April 2011 the country imported about 194,067MT wheat from a range of
countries as shown on the table below.
Quantity imported (MT)
Country of import
South Africa 61,127
United Arab Emirates 9,229
Source: ZIMSTATS ? Ministry of Finance
Until 2006, Zimbabwe was producing over 250,000MT wheat annually, but production has fallen
drastically in the last few years and the country is now an importer of wheat. Large grain milling
companies play a key role in importing wheat and make financial arrangements with their suppliers to
ensure consistent supply of wheat to the domestic market. In addition, considerable quantities of flour
are being imported mainly from South Africa and sold through local retail outlets.
PSD Table: Wheat
Wheat Zimbabwe 2009/2010 2010/2011 2011/2012
Market Year Begin: Jul Market Year Begin: Jul Market Year Begin: Jul
2009 2010 2011
USDA Official New Post USDA Official New Post USDA Official New Post
Area Harvested 4 10 5 12 5 6
Beginning Stocks 18 28 5 56 8 31
Production 12 18 18 25 18 12
MY Imports 250 250 250 250 250 280
TY Imports 250 250 250 250 250 280
TY Imp. from U.S. 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total Supply 280 296 273 331 276 323
MY Exports 0 0 0 0 0 0
TY Exports 0 0 0 0 0 0
Feed and Residual 0 0 0 0 0 0
FSI Consumption 275 240 265 300 256 300
Total 275 240 265 300 256 300
Ending Stocks 5 56 8 31 20 23
Total Distribution 280 296 273 331 276 323
1000 HA, 1000 MT, MT/HA