The latest Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) report shows that Zambia will have reduced maize harvest this year.

It says this is due to late start-of-season and prolonged dry spells between late February and late March will likely reduce crop yields in typically surplus-producing Eastern and Southern Provinces.

Despite the positive forecast by the Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum and the Zambia Meteorology Department of normal to above normal rainfall for the 2014/15 rainy season (Oct-April), below average rainfall has been recorded in most parts of southern and eastern Zambia.

The report said in addition, delayed start of season and prolonged dry spells from end of February to end of March at a critical time of crop growth (flowering and grain filling) has led to crop stress and wilting.

‘Recent increase in rainfall may have helped to eliminate moisture deficits in some areas, but prolonged dry spells have already negatively impacted crops and subsequently below average yields are expected in many areas in the southern half of the country,’ it said.

Most of the crops in these areas is in fair to poor condition with maize crop severely stressed having failed to recover after resumption of rains at the end of March.

Other crops which are typically planted after maize such as groundnuts, soybeans, rice, and cotton have also been affected and lower output is expected.

Very few crops (such as sweet potatoes and late planted beans) have benefited from the rains received in April. In these areas, little green harvests are available as most early-planted plots designated for green harvests produced well below-average crops.

Most of the country’s maize stocks are in the hands of the FRA, which is holding about 87 percent of the 1,370,000 estimated total stocks.

The Agency is selling maize to millers at a subsidized price of K1.30/Kg (16% below prevailing market price and 7 percent below cost price) which has to some extent led to stabilizing the maize meal prices.

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Southern province is prominent in this report. This shamu, is it related to the voting pattern there or is it just a coincidence? Just thinking, but they need to appease the gods at the next Lwiindi ceremony.

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    • Did you not note this ending in paragraph 2 of the article above? “…………..in typically surplus-producing Eastern and Southern Provinces.”

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  2. And follow up with a wise vote in 2016 if we are to avoid praying to the gods full time.

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  3. HE Edgar lungu let FRA buy all the maize from farmers. Make all the provinces maize belts. buy at least two tractors in every ward .people will hire these tractors. The idea of solar milling plants should not die a natural death. Lets cast enough nets for maize and cassava in all the parts of our country.

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  4. The FRA has introduced mono-culture. Maize, maize, and more maize. This makes the country entirely dependent on the fortunes of one crop. Not to mention that maize is unsuited for acidic soils prevalent in NP, NWP, Muchinga, and luapula. If there is a subsidy, let them give above-market prices for soya beans, sunflower, cassava, etc. The incentive must prevail until we diversify sufficient farmers into other crops, and build up agriculture outside the maize belt of EP and SP. This creates a reliable supply source for others to put up cooking oil refineries (soya, sunflower, groundnuts), ethanol factories (cassava), etc. The Luapula farmers have no market for cassava. Yet cassava is the cheapest and best source for bio-diesel.

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  5. MCS sought to end political subsidies. We have abandoned his plan. To force mealie meal prices down, FRA are selling the stocks their stock for K70 instead of K85 they planned. A dead loss of US$900m comes from this. More Eurobond please !!

    Also, imagine the poor farmers who have had a bad harvest pitching up in June to sell the small maize they salvaged. They will face a subsidised market flooded by FRA at K70. What price will these farmers expect for their maize in this market place ?

    For those politicisng SP, remember that peasant farmers make up the bulk of this economy. If they have no money, they wont buy the goods produced by us town dwellers. A drought hits us ALL, not just farmers.

    PS Why are we sending maize at half price to Zimbabwe if we are facing famine…

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  6. The much vilified and supposedly corrupt RB made producing bumper harvests year in and year out look like a piece of cake which led to the reduction of the national staple but people went and voted for Sata and the rest as they say is history!

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  7. I am confused, so no projected bumper harvest that PF and it’s leaders were bragging about last year or has that already come to pass? Ati pabwato, too bad even those who saw through PF lies have to suffer.

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