ZAMBIA National Farmers Union (ZNFU) says the late rainfall that occurred in some parts of the country last week will not destroy crops but will delay the start of the marketing season due to the increase in moisture content in the affected grains.
The 2016/17 agriculture marketing season is scheduled to start on June 1. The preferred moisture content for grains such as maize, soybeans, groundnuts and other crops is 12.5 percent, which is suitable to be stored in the sheds (silos).
In an interview on Wednesday, ZNFU communications manager Kakoma Kaleyi said minimal adverse impact is expected to have occurred on some grains as a result of the late rainfall that showered in some parts of the country.
“We don’t expect the crops to rot but the moisture content will be too high, and the rate at which the moisture will drop to the required level will be slow, hence there will be delays in the sale of the commodities.
“But some buyers and traders will not mind to enter the market since they have dryers to quicken the process,” he said.
And the Meteorological Department says the late rainfall that was characterised by hailstorms in some parts of Lusaka was due to a cool vertical atmosphere that did not support its melting into rain.
Senior meteorological officer Victor Bupe said a cold front over the south-east coast of South Africa tilted towards the north, thereby interacting with the Congo air masses over the eastern half of Zambia.
“The fall of ice found a vertical atmosphere that could not support ice melting into rain,” Mr Bupe said in a statement.
Some parts of Lusaka last Sunday experienced heavy hailstorm.