1.1 Growth Targets
The 2020 second quarter saw the projected growth targets of 3% being further reviewed to -9.2% due to constrained fiscal space, below normal 2019/20 agricultural season, resurgent hyperinflation, eroding exchange rate and COVID 19 pandemic. The global lockdown subdued the demand and prices of gold, platinum and palladium and leading agricultural export commodities. Loss of both domestic and diaspora incomes is set to undermine savings, remittances and investments in agriculture by individuals, corporates and the state alike.
The persistent petrol and diesel queues, mealie meal stockouts and basic commodity price increases, reflects loss of economic value especially by farmers facing produce prices indexed to fixed exchange rate of US$1 to Z$25. In contrast the pricing of agricultural inputs and services are feeding on depreciating Z$ tracking US$ at alternative market exchange rates.
1.3 Exchange Rates
Farmers continue to call for measures that preserve farm incomes, incentivize capitalization and reinvestment into farming activities. The fixed exchange rate of US$1: Z$ 25 falls far short of recapacitating farmers to secure inputs for the next season. While the exchange rate was fixed to stabilize prices of inputs and services the enforcement remains weak.
Short term measures to address inflationary challenges, providing incentivizing farm wages, accessibility of power, petrol, diesel is expected to enhance agricultural production and productivity.
The inflationary and exchange rate depreciation pressures are having adverse impact on prices of various agricultural input prices. All outlets are pricing the inputs in US$ and converted to ZM$ on spot using alternative market rates.
Figure 1: Prices of Lime and Nitrogen Fertilizers
Figure 2: Compound Fertilizers
Figure 3: Blend Fertilizers
Figure 4: Super and Straight Fertilizers
Figure 5: Pesticides and Aphicides
Figure 6: Herbicides and Fungicides
2.3 Livestock Remedies
Figure 7: Veterinary and Livestock Remedies