Agriculture Minister Michael Katambo says the country has sufficient stocks of maize to last a total of 8 months up to July 2020.
Hon Katambo said in other words, if the smuggling of maize and mealie meal remains under control, the maize available in the country of one million, thirty-seven thousand seven hundred and seventy-seven point seven metric tonnes is adequate to see the nation through to the next harvest, somewhere around June 2020.
He said this when he addressed journalists at Lusaka’s Mulungushi International Conference Center as he announced the results for the maize stocks assessment survey 2019 and the food security situation in Zambia.
“Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, at this point, I will now highlight the results of the survey and explain the implications of the results on the national food security situation from now until the next harvest in 2020. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the survey results and the figures presented by the stocks monitoring committee indicate that the total quantity of maize available in the country stands at one million, thirty seven thousand seven hundred and seventy seven point seven metric tonnes,” said Hon Katambo.
“Let me now give you the breakdown of the total maize that we have in the country. The small and medium scale farmers in all provinces are estimated to be in possession of (394,991) metric tonnes of maize; whilst large-scale farmers in the country are estimated to have in reserve sixty three thousand eight hundred and sixty three metric tonnes of maize in stock. Further, the millers that are represented by the Millers Association of Zambia have reported to be in possession of one hundred and twelve thousand, three hundred and twenty nine metric tonnes of maize; and the grain traders that are represented by the Grain Traders Association of Zambia have one hundred and eighty thousand, three hundred and forty six point sixty one metric tonnes of maize in stock while stock feed manufacturers have sixty thousand metric tonnes.”
The Agriculture Minister said the Food Reserve Agency has a total of two hundred and twenty six thousand, two hundred and forty seven metric tonnes of maize as strategic food reserves.
He indicated that in terms of the distribution of maize in control of small and medium scale farmers in the country, the maize stocks assessment survey has established that the province with the most amount of maize is Eastern Province with 127,256 MT, followed by Central Province with 59,450 MT, which is then followed by Muchinga Province with 49,053 MT, then Northern Province with 43,306 MT and North Western Province with 35,271 MT.
“The province with the least amount of maize in the control of small and medium scale farmers is Western Province with 2,906 MT, followed by Lusaka Province with 4,752 MT, this is then followed by Southern Province with 10,183 mt, then by Luapula Province with 27,961 MT and finally by Copperbelt Province with 34,852 MT,” he disclosed.
He emphasized that the results highlighting the distribution of maize by province is evidence that there is maize being held by small and medium scale farmers in the country.
“Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, now that the actual maize stock figures have been presented, let me update you on the food security situation in the country. You may wish to note that for planning purposes, my ministry uses an estimate of one hundred and twenty thousand metric tonnes to represent the country’s monthly consumption requirement. Therefore, going by the stock figures I have presented, you will note that the country has sufficient stocks of maize to last a total of 8 months up to July 2020,” assured Hon Katambo.
“In fact, we expect some maize to start coming on the market in April, 2020 because of the early maize project that government has facilitated in partnership with the Zambia National Farmers Union who are currently estimating the expected yield of early maize.”