Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Conflicting report on harvest

WFP statement said Harare was not ready to present food data. Yet the country's Central Statistical Office has informed the Southern African development community that the cereal harvest in the current market year is some 1.7 million tons.

maphosa maize growing in a harare residential area eng 150However, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization has projected a cereal harvest of at most some 1.2 million tons, while the U.S. Department of Agriculture has estimated Zimbabwe's maize output at just 900,000 tons.

The secrecy which has enveloped Zimbabwe food production data deepened earlier this year when Agriculture Minister Joseph Made warned foreign organizations against doing crop assessments, calling them illegal.

The WFP has said it would need US$85.5 million to feed some 3 million people in the region. But it has warned that the number could surge when the “lean spell," also known as the "hunger season," begins as harvested crops are consumed.

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