ZNFU says Zambia maize harvest to drop by 30% this year as President Lungu assures the nation

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Peasant farmers load their maize into a truck before transportation to an FRA depot in chief Mulala's area. Agriculture faces manay challenges in the area and this fuels poverty.
file:Peasant farmers load their maize into a truck before transportation to an FRA depot in chief Mulala’s area. Agriculture faces many challenges in the area and this fuels poverty.

The Zambia National Farmers Union says the country’s current 2015/2016 maize harvest is expected to be a third lower than the previous year due to severe drought in many parts of the country.

Zambia’s maize harvest dropped 22% to 2.6 million tonnes in the 2014/2015 season versus the previous season.ZNFU Spokesman Kingsley Kaswende said if the current weather pattern continues maize production may drop by 30 percent.

He said the country’s high production areas have not had enough rain.A further 30 per cent decline would imply 1.8 million tonnes of production of the country’s staple crop in 2016, the lowest for seven years.

“It’s still a bit too early to give precise figures for this year, but because of the severity of the situation we expect that reduction in yields could be as much as 30 per cent,” Mr Kaswende said.
“These are modest estimations. If the current weather pattern continues, we are likely to have a reduction well above 30 per cent.”

Meanwhile President Edgar Lungu has assured the nation that government has put in place measures to ensure that adequate maize stocks are secured to guarantee both household and national food security.

Speaking during a brief meeting with four traditional leaders who included Chiefs Choongo, Hamusonde, Chona and Monze in Monze district yesterday, President Lungu said government was ready to sacrifice resources of other economic demands to secure enough food stock for the country.

The president noted that the country still had enough maize stock to last up to June this year adding that the government was making frantic efforts to import more maize stocks in case of poor crop yields because of the poor rainfall patterns in most parts of the country experienced so far.

“ I want to assure the nation that my government is making all efforts to secure adequate maize stocks because the current stocks we have will be depleted by June this year,” said President Lungu.

“As government we are alive to the fact that we have poor rainfall patterns in some parts of the country but as Patriotic Front (PF) government we shall do whatever it takes, even sacrifice resources meant for economic growth to ensure that no Zambian starves to death as a result of hunger,” said Mr. Lungu.

He disclosed that government was committed to prudently use the available resources to buy maize stocks from South America as well as setting up solar milling plants across the country as soon as possible to make mealie meal prices affordable to all Zambians.

According to recent World Food Programme (WFP) study an estimated 14 million people risk facing serious hunger in Southern Africa following the effects of adverse climatic conditions during the last farming season.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Pounded Yam, Pounded Rice, Semolina, and delicious Mash Potaties work well as Nshima replacements. Try growing potatoes in large containers. People in UK are growing tomatoes on window sills and potatoes in sacks to practice a little self reliance. Maize is too complex a product for us to depend on it. Rains are not reliable. Last time we had this condition was in 2003, because of rain failure. Also there is too much added on top of final cost of a bag of Maize. Harvesting, drying, preparing, Milling, all add to the cost. Those processes also depend on Market Prices. In the olden days a family kept a large wooden Pestle and mortar, to Mill their own provision.

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    • All societies have to adapt to their conditions. Maybe Nshima should be eaten as a speciality cultural dish in these times. The proof is in the wall we can’t depend on Maize as a staple diet. Maybe have a museum of Nshima where our future generations can learn about their past diet and keep an element of that culture.

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  2. It nice to have the Germans on board in Agro projects, but perhaps Zambia should look to Spain also, where they are very successful in growing food in man made environments like Poly Tunnels

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    • Diversification of crops is essential to the national food security. This must start now. Lets put into action what we know must happen.

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  3. Yup my friend, trucks are still loading up maize for export. But dont worry, we will save on transport by using the same trucks to bring our maize imports in as backloads. Its called planning, bwana.

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  4. Zambians have been brainwashed into thinking maize is their cultural and traditional food. What crap. The colonialist farmers brought in maize to feed mine workers. Maize is from South America it has nothing to do with Africa.

    FRA should aggressively buy cassava, groundnuts, millet, sorghum and deliberately slow down maize purchases. We have to diversify the food base in view of climate change but currently there is no commercial market for these crops

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  5. Educated economists please help !!

    BOZ says they have 2,4bn in reserves. Dora needs $1,2bn for her electricity. Chikwanda needs 0,3bn for his eurobond interest. Maize imports will need 0,5bn. Then there is need for fuel imports, fertiliser, and flat screens. Mu addition tells me we are on the edge of the abyss since after reserves are depleted, on pure supply and demand, the kwacha will go into orbit

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  6. Hello everyone. Does anyone know how much the farmers in farms are selling maize to individual maize buyers In Kabwe in 2016 ? Can you give me the range? Does anyone know the price range of maize price per 50kg the FRA will buy maize in 2016? Please I need your help.

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