Part of the 6 acre maize field that has recovered after spraying
Part of the 6 acre maize field that has recovered after spraying

Zambia’s maize production may drop around 50 percent in the current 2017/2018 crop season if a dry spell which the nation is experiencing continues into next month, an industry body said on Monday.

Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) spokesman Calvin Kaleyi said a lot of the maize crop in key production areas had wilted and this was likely to hit the harvest.

“If this trend continues into February, we are in trouble. We may be lucky to hit 1.8-2 million tonnes of maize,” Kaleyi said.

The maize production rose to 3.61 million tonnes in the 2016/2017 season from 2.87 million tonnes the previous season.

Zambia’s maize production season runs from October-November when the planting is done to March-April when the crop is ready for harvesting.

But this season a dry spell has hit small-scale farmers who rely on rain-fed irrigation and produce 82 percent of Zambia’s maize, Kaleyi said.

“The crop is wilting and this is very bad because it has hit the maize belt,” he said.

The situation will be made worse due to late access by small-scale farmers to fertiliser from the government, he said.

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16 COMMENTS

  1. The drought and expected drop in maize production might turn out to be a good opportunity for an assessment to be made of the relevance of the Food Reserve Agency in national food security.

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  2. Ask those who refuse to pray for rain , what is their solution they have laughed at us christians when ever we pray and mocked us ; let them provide a way out of this problem!
    No human has power over God’s nature God lcan withhold rain or he can give it to you , satan has no rule over God’s creation , the prayers we pray reach to heaven but being un grateful to God is a curse just as satan is cursed and those who celebrate him and their days are numbered.

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    • because in your limited way of thinking, only rain water can be used for farming! In certain places they are growing food without soil and using drip irrigation

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  3. Ba president please pay farmers in luapula and northern provinces.How are they going to buy fertilizer if they won’t be paid.In nchelenge district some farmers are not paid .what’s happening in govt kanshi.ba siliya bena nabafilwa ukubomba.please work hard otherwise there’ll be poverty in the country.

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  4. The majority farmers in Zambia are small scale whom depend on rain fed maize, beans, sweet potatoes and pumping leaves as relish and pumping for breakfast. Most of us cannot afford irrigation cos it is expensive yes we are told not to worry cos there is a lot in surplus and the majority are not in employment rather retirees like me who only harvest once per year and l am done with food how are we going to afford buying mealie meal for the whole year looking at our crops it is almost reaching the wilting point is there any measures the government has put in place to protect the poor who has already spent the little they have in this farming season?

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  5. Mundia and lh.

    Can you agree that irrigation needs electricity ? Or are we talking irrigation as in carrying a bucket many kilometers from the nearest river.

    Before some clever joe comments on irrigation, can he first research what percentage of zambians are connected onto the national grid ?

    There might be a shortage of rain, but Zambia has no shortage of comedians.

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  6. Why has Govt not invested in irrigation all this time? You fly to Egypt and not discuss investment in irrigation. There is and will always be a cyclone of bumper harvest due to good rains and no harvest with drought, this happens all the time, year in year out, why have we not planned for this already? There are policies of storage that we could implement in a bumper season that could help during the drought. AU & SADC should be discussing what policies we can set when regions are in drought and others are not to help each other out. We don’t have to rely on maize when we are in drought, what foods can we eat from other countries if we have all planned in Africa to help each other out when in drought. Can we not eat couscous from Morocco when we have no maize? We need leadership that…

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  7. Mr Mwanawasa the only president who was serious with diversification of the economy from mining dependency to farming introduced winter maize but the programme has died a natural death.R.I.P Bigman.

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  8. It will be an opportunity to sell the maize i reserved from last season. This time it will be K120 per bag. Kikiki

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  9. Climate change is real. Its time we accepted and come up with mitigation measures for the so called small scale farmers. Prayer alone will not help.

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  10. Any one needing NPK Fertilizer 7-14-7-9S or 12-24-12-4Sto increase maize production or any NPK (formulae) combination or any other fertilizers, please write to [email protected] in confidence. I will help.
    L.K.Chopra

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  11. The drought in Zambia is a wake-up call to all farmers. So many have been affected by the drought and the army worms….
    I firmly appeal to Financial Institutions to help small scale farmers with small loans to
    a. Put up boreholes at affordable rates to those willing to get loans
    b. Put up a drip irrigation for a maximum of a hectare
    c. Help with starting an irrigation project with a reasonable budget.

    This way, farmers may struggle to at least irrigate a hectare in times like these. A hectare is enough food security for a farmer.

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