Zimbabwe Marks First Corn Export In Over Two Decades

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News in brief: Zimbabwe is set to export 40,000 tonnes of corn to Rwanda, marking the first time since 2001 that the country has exported the grain due to a production surplus. The country is cautious about granting export requests from other African nations to ensure sufficient grain for domestic use.

Zimbabwe has approved the sale of 40,000 tonnes of corn to Rwanda, due to surplus. It would make it the first time the country has exported the grain since it last did in 2001, when it sent 100,000 tonnes to some African countries including Mozambique, Botswana, Zambia and Kenya.

The country’s agriculture minister, Anxious Masuka, made the announcement on Thursday, July 20. He revealed that Zimbabwe saw a tremendous growth in corn production in recent years, which led to the surplus for exports. Its best year in the last 30 years was in 2020/2021 when it produced 2.8 million tonnes of the crop and last year’s output was about 2.2 million tonnes.

The minister added that they have also received a request from the Democratic Republic of Congo for about 350,000 metric tonnes the crop. However, he noted that the government is cautious with granting export requests in order to retain sufficient grain for their own use.

The state-run Grain Marketing Board will oversee the export transactions with Zimbabwe authorities confident that their stocks on grain is sufficient to last for the next two seasons.

The country experienced shortages in food supply since the government undertook repossession of farmlands in 2000. Land seizures led to a drop in agricultural production, after foreign farmers, numbering over 4,500, were dispossessed of planting grounds. The situation made Zimbabwe start depending on corn imports from its close neighbour South Africa.

The news about exporting corn surprised industry experts, who expected the country to import more of the crop this year to satisfy local demand. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), for example, had said that the country’s local demand for corn of about 2.2 million metric tonnes will surpass its projected 1.5 million metric tonnes corn crop for marketing year 2023/24, hence, it will need to depend on imports.

Rwanda’s corn consumption is put at 500,000 tonnes annually and it imports about 120,000 tonnes to meet this demand.

Joseph Akahome
Joseph Akahome
Joseph O Akahome (OJ) is a writer, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Literature from the University of Benin. He is an avid agriculturist, with a bias for poultry and an insatiable appetite for chicken wings. When he is neither reading nor researching, he likes to spend recreational time playing board games, or swimming in serene forested lakes.

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