ZANIS

Zambia heads for bumper harvest

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Minister of Agriculture, Michael Katambo has revealed that maize production for the 2020/2021 marketing season is projected to increase to 3,620,244 metric tonnes from 3,387,469 metric tonnes produced last season, presenting an increase of 7 percent.

Mr Katambo has attributed the maize bumper harvest expected this year to the early delivery of inputs under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) coupled with good rains and good agricultural practices by farmers.

ZANIS reports that the minister said this during a press briefing on the Crop Forecasting Survey for the 2020/2021 Agricultural Season and the Food Security Status for the 2021/2022 Marketing Season in Lusaka today.

Mr. Katambo stated that the total carry-over stocks held by millers, grain traders, small and large scale farmers as at May 3, 2021 was 840,944 metric tonnes.

“If we add the total production of 3,620,244metric tonnes produced this season, the total supply of maize available for the 2021/2022 marketing season is 4,461,188 metric tonnes,” he said.

He said taking into account all the national requirements of 2,932,208 metric tonnes and the stocks of 4,461,188 metric tonnes, the country is expected to have a surplus of 1,528 metric tonnes of maize.

Mr. Katambo stated that in line with the economic recovery plan, it is the intention of government to make agriculture a leading export sector.

He said government will this year continue with regulated exports of maize and mealie meal through programmes such as the government -millers Association of Zambia.

Mr. Katambo further said government has accepted a request by the World Food Programme to buy Zambian maize and mealie meal equivalent for export to needy countries.

He said government will allow to export 80,000 metric tonnes of maize by the World Food Programme for Humanitarian purposes.

Mr. Katambo added that government is encouraging production of early maize which is planted in October and artificially dried in March and April.

He said government is working with the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) to come up with a legal instrument to actualize the export of early maize.

“All early maize will be allowed to be exports up to the end of May and this will allow the country to enter the export market early. It will also provide the country with a fall-back position in times of reduced production due to drought or other factors,” he said.

Mr. Katambo revealed that apart from maize, soya beans production is also expected to increase to 411,115 metric tonnes from 296,866 metric tonnes produced last season representing an increase of 38 percent.

He stated that this year’s production of soya beans is the highest ever recorded in the country.

Speaking at the same event, Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI) Executive Director, Chance Kabaghe commended government for allowing the export of surplus maize.

Mr. Kabaghe said it is gratifying for government to offer policy direction as regards o exporting of maize as it will earn the country foreign exchange.

He said it is time for farmers to take advantage of the various protocols and agreements in order to make Zambia a permanent supplier of crops and livestock services in the region.

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