This came to light when a delegation from the Farmers’ Union of Malawi (FUM) paid a courtesy call on the Eastern Provincial Administration in Chipata over the weekend.
FUM Director of Research, Policy and Partnership, Candida Nakhumwa, said Malawi was coming from a poor season last year where it was hit by adverse weather conditions as a result of the elnino.
Dr Nakhumwa said the President of Malawi, Peter Mutharika, even declared it as a state of emergency.
She noted that the FUM wanted Zambia to help Malawi in a formal manner where the two countries could trade in Maize to cushion the hunger in that country.
‘’We want Zambia to help us where we can import maize from this country. We want to ensure that trade happens in a formal manner. Our President has declared a state of emergency because 3,000,000 people will be in need of food this year,’’ Dr. Nakhumwa said.
She observed that Malawi was lucky that Zambia had surplus maize this year and it would be prudent that the two countries helped each other by engaging in formal trade of the staple food.
And Dr Nakhumwa commended the Zambian government for relating well with the Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU).
She said the Zambian government had recognised farmers as important players in economic development and FUM would also want to learn from that in implementing agricultural activities.
Dr Nakhumwa said the delegation appreciated the value-addition farmers made in their agricultural activities, citing the processing of cooking oil from sunflower using Yenga Press machines.
She noted that Malawi would also want to do the same by acquiring the equipment from Zambia.
Meanwhile, FUM President, Alfred Banda, said farmers in Malawi were hard working but lacked markets.
Mr Banda said his union wants to rely on ZNFU for the facilitation of the procurement of agro-equipment so that farmers in Malawi can also add value to their crops.
And Eastern Province Assistant Secretary, Royd Tembo, said Zambia is expected to have a bumper harvest in Southern Africa this year as a result of cooperation government has with the ZNFU.
Mr Tembo said ZNFU was the voice of the farmers and instrumental in looking at the farmers’ needs.
‘’The Zambian government appreciates working with ZNFU because it has realised that agriculture is slowly becoming an economic mainstay as the country tries to diversify the economy from copper dependency,’’ he said.
Mr Tembo also called for more similar visits in the region where countries can learn from one another, especially with the effects of climate change so that they can put their heads together to be food secure.
The FUM delegation is in Eastern Province to learn from ZNFU’s operations and share information with the Zambian Farmers’ Union which has been in existence for the past 100 years.
The delegation has so far visited Petauke, Chadiza and Chipata disitrcts.