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Zimbabwe: higher production but food insecurity persists
High food insecurity persists in Zimbabwe in spite of improvements in agricultural production and a more liberal import policy this year, according to a report issued today by FAO and the World Food Programme (WFP).
Good rainfall meant 2009 production of the staple crop, maize, is estimated to have more than doubled - to 1.14 million metric tonnes - an increase of 130 percent on the record low harvest of 2008, the report said. But the report also includes forecast production of winter-season wheat of only about 12,000 tonnes, the lowest ever, reflecting the high cost of fertilizers and quality seeds, farmers’ lack of financial liquidity and the uncertainty of the electricity supply for irrigation.
In March 2009, the Government of Zimbabwe abandoned the Zimbabwe dollar and announced the liberalization of most sectors of the economy. Adoption of the US dollar and South African rand as legal currencies has brought the annual rate of inflation down to zero from its 2008 high, calculated by the World Bank at 56 million percent.