This harvest puts the country on a safe food situation, whose annual human maize consumption is 1.26 million metric tones.
Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister, Brian Chituwo, said the crop forecasting survey for 2008/2009 agricultural season and the food balance status for the 2009/2010 marketing season indicate that the total maize production in the last farming season is estimated to be 1,888,773 metric tones.
Dr Chituwo said at a press briefing in Lusaka today that the food balance sheet shows that the total maize required for human consumption amounts to 1,263,098 metric tones.
He said the country has recorded a maize surplus of 203,271 metric tones from last year’s production, adding that government was ready to review the issue of maize exports.
This maize production represents an increase of 31 per cent compared to the previous season.
Dr. Chituwo stressed that the total maize requirements would take into account government’s strategic reserve stock of 110,000 metric tones for the Food Reserve Agency (FRA).
He however disclosed that the percentage contribution to national production by large scale farmers has reduced from 18 per cent during the previous season to 12 per cent in the just ended season.
Dr. Chituwo stated that large scale commercial farmers have achieved an average maize yield rate of 4.8 metric tonnes per hectare while small and medium scale farmers have achieved an average maize yield rate of 1.5 metric tones per hectare.
He has since appealed to the private sector to immediately start participating in the market by purchasing maize from farmers.
The minister also disclosed that the floor price for maize would be announced early next month.