Zambia has returned to bumper Maize harvest this year after it recorded an estimated 3,387,469 metric tonnes in the 2019/2020 agriculture season.
This is an increase from the 2,004,389 metric tonnes produced last season and represents an increase of 69 percent.
Agriculture Minister Michael Katambo announced this when he released the 2019/2020 Crop Forecast Survey in Lusaka on Wednesday.
Mr Katambo said since the country had a maize carry-over stock amounting to 179,247 metric tonnes as at 1st May, 2020, the total supply of Maize available for the 2020/2021 marketing season is now 3,566,716 metric tonnes.
“If you take into account that traditionally, the Food Reserve Agency’s buying target has been 500,000 metric tonnes, the surplus this year would be more than 710,000 metric tonnes. However, as a Ministry, this year, we have factored in a purchase target of 1,000,000 metric tonnes for the Agency in our cereals balance sheet. Despite factoring in the higher FRA maize purchase target of 1,000,000 metric tonnes, the country has still managed to record a maize surplus of over 210,000 metric tonnes in 2020. What this now implies, is that the country is food secure and will remain as such for the next year to come, provided smuggling is controlled,” Mr Katambo stated.
He added, “Our small and medium scale farmers are expected to contribute up to 93 percent or 3,160,185 metric tonnes of the total Maize production, while the large scale farmers are expected to produce 227,284 metric tonnes of Maize or 7 percent of the total maize production.”
Mr Katambo attributed the increase in maize production can be largely attributed to favorable weather, the early delivery of inputs under the farmer input support programme, and the renewed confidence in growing maize.