The 2004 FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission (CFSAM) to Zimbabwe was curtailed;
in country for 12 of the planned 19 days, visiting three of the country’s eight provinces. Based on
fieldwork, information from many sources, including Government statistics, rainfall data, satellite
imagery, extensive discussions with various industry experts, during and after the Mission, and previous
experience in Zimbabwe CFSAMs1, this year’s cereal production is estimated at just over 950 000
tonnes2, with a margin of error of 10 percent. Below average and unevenly distributed rainfall in the
important maize growing Mashonaland Provinces was a major reason. Other factors included shortages
of draught power, quality seeds, fertilizer, labour, and problems A2 farmers3 faced in cultivating
significant maize areas.
With a mid-2004/05 population of 11.9 million, total cereal utilization should be almost 2.35 million
tonnes. This implies a potentially large national cereal import requirement: nearly 1.3 million tonnes.
As of 1 April 2004 informed sources put the level of GMB maize stocks at about 60 000 tonnes. Total
cereal stocks in private hands have been estimated at about 45 000 tonnes. The government’s total
cereal import capacity (maize) is estimated to be at least 620 000 tonnes (220 000 tonnes in pipeline
from last year’s contracts, and at least 400 000 tonnes to be purchased in the current year). This reflects
an improvement in the foreign exchange situation due to stricter Government management of foreign
exchange transactions, including remittances from Zimbabweans abroad. The deficit of 285 000 tonnes
in wheat and rice is expected to be covered through commercial imports. Taking into account food aid
already pledged or available in country, the uncovered cereal deficit should be about 325 000 tonnes.
Unless total utilization falls further, this deficit will have to be met by additional commercial food imports
and/or food assistance.
An estimated 30-40 percent of farmers may run out of food from their own production within two or three
months (end of June or July). Their already weakened coping mechanisms will be stretched to the
breaking point. The ongoing economic crisis, with inflation remaining at around 600 percent annually, will
inflict further hardships on the poorer groups, including the urban unemployed and under-employed.
Household members from these categories of population are likely to require assistance on an urgent
basis. The recently issued Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee report indicates that 2.3
million rural people will not be able to cover their food needs in 2004/05. Late in 2003, the Zimbabwe
VAC had also estimated4 that 2.5 million people in urban areas were food insecure.
The two FAO mission members had undertaken similar missions in Zimbabwe in 2002 and 2003.
Over 975 000 tonnes, including barley.
Two resettlement models have been defined (A1 and A2). For an explanation of these terms, please refer to Section 3.4.