Re-bagged sacks of maize awaiting FRA officials to buy from farmers

The latest Famine Early Warning Famine Systems Network report has projected that Maize prices in most parts of Zambia will remain high despite the country recording a surplus harvest.

Despite the late start of the 2015/16 season and erratic rainfall experienced during the first half, recent crop forecast survey estimates indicate that Zambia’s maize production this season will be at the national average of 2.87 million Metric Tons.

This year’s maize production, combined with the estimated maize carryover stock of approximately 667,500 MT, is expected to substantially exceed national requirements this consumption year.

But the report shows that between May and July, maize prices are likely to reduce or stabilize but will still remain above the recent five-year average.

It warned that Maize prices are also expected to rise earlier than usual during the outlook period because of very high regional demand.

It further shows that livestock prices are expected to remain within average levels given the average crop harvest.

“Given the estimated moderate maize surplus, the high export parity price, and the anticipated regional deficit, demand for Zambian maize will be very high. Strong export demand is expected from the DRC, Zimbabwe, and Malawi,” the report states.

It warned that this high regional demand is likely to keep local maize prices high.

The report says the DRC has already requested 30,000 Metric Tons formal exports from Zambia and this will be met by the private sector.

The report says that minimal acute food insecurity outcomes will continue from May to September in most parts of the country due to increased household food supplies.

It however warns that stressed outcomes are expected during this period in parts of the extreme southwest and southeast, where local production was adversely affected by prolonged dry spells.

It further shows that average production is also estimated for sorghum, millet, and groundnuts, while cassava, rice, and beans are estimated to be at levels that are below average.

“Sweet potatoes are expected to increase significantly this year because these crops were planted when seasonal rainfall improved during the late January/February period. Commercially planted soybean production is also expected to increase this season.”

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