Land preparation and planting activities for the main 2020/21 cropping season (October‑June) are underway. Early rainfall amounts in October were estimated to be mostly above average, boosting soil moisture levels and supporting crop germination. The rainfall outlook for the November 2020‑January 2021 period points to a slightly higher probability of above‑normal rainfall, suggesting likely conducive conditions for the 2021 cereal crops, although the risk of excessive rainfall and flood damage also increases.
According to the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee’s (ZIMVAC) evaluation released in October, average income of a rural household declined by about 25 percent in April 2020 compared to the corresponding month in 2019 (from USD 44 to USD 33). The reduced income level, in the context of exceptionally high annual inflation rates that exceeded 800 percent, is expected to hamper farmers’ access to agricultural inputs, including seeds, fertilizers and labour, and could result in a reduction in planted area compared to the average.
The Government is implementing programmes to support farmers’ access to agricultural inputs, including the Presidential Input Scheme, which is targeting about 1.8 million smallholder farmers, and to promote the adoption of conservation agriculture techniques.
The cropping season in East and Southern Africa occurs from November to April, so most fertilizers were already in-country and applied or well down the distribution channel before the impact of Covid 19 began.
There is adequate stock in the country, so no shortage is expected.