A Strategic Grain Reserve (SGR) is a government stockpile of maize grain for the purposes of meeting future domestic or international needs and also helps during food emergencies.
Zimbabwe requires at least 1,4 million tonnes of maize for human consumption yearly and 350 000 tonnes for stockfeed. In 2013, Zimbabwe needed at least $51 million to establish the strategic grain reserves with the bulk of the money going towards the rehabilitation of silos and setting up a transport fleet for the cash-strapped Grain Marketing Board (GMB). According to the state-controlled New Zimbabwe Inter-Africa News Agency, sources of funding had been identified and presented to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development for finalization.
Government was to distribute 138 000 tonnes of maize from the Strategic Grain Reserve to communities whose harvests failed in the predominantly dry 2014-15 summer cropping season. The Grain Marketing Board was directed not to sell 138 000 tonnes of maize so that the government can disburse it to those without food via the Public Assistance Programme. The report showed that eight provinces recorded cereal production deficits, with only Mashonaland Central Province and Mashonaland West Province returning a surplus.
Mashonaland Central harvested 204 906 tonnes, representing a surplus of over 76 000 tonnes; and Mashonaland West got 218 958 tonnes and a surplus of 54 000 tonnes. Harare (236 226-tonne deficit) and Masvingo Province (131 447-tonne deficit) had the biggest shortfalls. Aggregate production declined in all provinces, and the report noted that only six districts (Sanyati, Muzarabani, Shamva, Goromonzi, Seke and Chirumhanzu) achieved cereal sufficiency for the next 12 to 18 months.
Zimbabwe recorded a huge 49 percent drop in maize production, with small grains the hardest hit as sorghum and pearl millet production fell by 71 percent. Finger millet production dropped from 11 009 tonnes in the previous season to 4 470 tonnes.
At the start of 2020, Zimbabwe’s Strategic Grain Reserve (SGR) was down to below 100 000 tons of the staple maize from the mandatory 500 000 tons following a drought in 2019, a cabinet minister said. Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement's Minister Perrance Shiri said the SGR was depleting, state news agency New Ziana reported.
Zimbabwe consumes about 1.8 million tons of grain annually, but produced less than 800 000 tons last season due to the impact of drought and Cyclone Idai. Shiri said the agriculture sector was facing challenges including high input costs, crop diseases, low mechanization and low levels of irrigation.