By Hon Dr. Jonas Chanda
President Edgar Lungu and the PF government must be highly commended for this year’s MAIZE BUMPER HARVEST which has seen Maize production being forecast to increase to 3,387,469 metric tonnes from 2,004,389 metric tonnes produced last year, representing an increase of 69%. And the projected MAIZE SURPLUS this year is 710,000 metric tonnes.
This is only the *FOURTH (4TH) MAIZE BUMPER HARVEST in 26 years.
It is also highly commendable that 93% of the Maize is produced by SMALL-SCALE PEASANT FARMERS, not LARGE-SCALE COMMERCIAL FARMERS. The country has also seen an increase in the production of other crops like Irish and sweet potatoes, cassava, soya bean, and rice.
These bumper harvests are due to Government’s EARLY DISTRIBUTION OF FARMING INPUTS across the country under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), coupled with favourable weather conditions. The PF Government’s huge successes in food production will ensure that the country is FOOD SECURE, has STABLE SUPPLY OF MAIZE TO MILLERS, and enjoys LOWER and STABLE MAIZE PRICES and other food prices. VALUE-ADDITION to and EXPORT of excess food commodities will greatly benefit the country’s economy. Moreover, the URBAN POPULATIONS of Copperbelt and Lusaka provinces* will be even happier with the LOWER MEALIE MEAL PRICES.
The main opposition United Party for National Development (UPND), who chose POLITICKING at the height of the CLIMATE CHANGE INDUCED DROUGHTS and CROPS FAILURES in some regions of the country, should be embarrassed at the BUMPER HARVESTS in maize and other crops. UPND firstly mocked President Lungu when he addressed *CLIMATE CHANGE* during the last opening of Parliament, and then went on to UNPATRIOTICALLY call for and illegally declare a “NATIONAL HUNGER DISASTER,” even calling on their “international donors” to turn Zambia into a FOOD BASKET CASE by asking them to donate food to Zambians just to embarrass the President and government while gaining CHEAP POLITICAL MILEAGE.
To UPND’s embarrassment, NO SINGLE ZAMBIAN HAS DIED OF HUNGER. Government through the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) has distributed record numbers of RELIEF MEALIE MEAL and ANIMAL FEED in regions most affected by drought, floods, and crop failures. DMMU is also distributing mealie meals across the country to VULNERABLE GROUPS such as *People With Disabilities, Chronically ill, Female-Headed Households and Child Headed Households.
I, therefore, call on UPND leader Mr. Hichilema to congratulate President Edgar Lungu and the PF government for the BUMPER HARVESTS recorded this year in MAIZE and OTHER CROPS with the *same zeal* he exhibited when ILLEGALLY DECLARING a NATIONAL HUNGER DISASTER. And I also call on Mr. Hichilema to congratulate the PF Government for the REDUCED PRICES OF MEALIE MEAL with the same passion he exhibited when POLITICISING “HIGH” MEALIE MEAL PRICES at the height of the Drought and Crop Failures.
Finally, I appeal to the National Food and Nutrition Commission to work with Ministry of Agriculture and other government institutions to correct the FALSE NARRATIVE that Zambia is the FOURTH (4TH) HUNGRIEST COUNTRY ON EARTH* when the country is recording BUMPER HARVESTS* and *NO SINGLE ZAMBIAN has DIED OF HUNGER unlike the situation in many African, and some Middle East and Asian countries.