Minister of agriculture Mtolo Phiri has assured that Zambia has enough maize in stock than it would need for the whole year 2022.
Reacting to recent calls to halt the export of maize in the face of the impending drought that has seen scanty rain across the country, with some earlier planted crops dying, Mr. Phiri said that despite the poor rainfall pattern being experienced so far, the maize in stock guarantees food security despite for the whole of 2022 and that Zambia has about 2 million metric tons of maize in storage facilities to date.
Mr. Phiri added that his ministry is also seriously analyzing what to offload on the market from the storage facilities if any on a monthly basis and that government has authorized the export of 1,177,500 metric tonnes of maize.
However, there has been concern from a number of stakeholders about the looming poor maize output due to the late onset of the rains.
Early this month, Paramount Chief Mpezeni of Eastern province supported the government’s plans to re-consider the export of extra maize stocks the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) bought from farmers in the 2020/2021 crop marketing season.
Chief Mpezeni said that it would be unfortunate for the country to export all the extra maize stocks and later import the same commodity because of the uncertainties created by the delayed rains.
The Traditional Leader said that if the situation remains the same up to the end of December, the impact would be devastating and affect income, food, and nutritional security in the country.
Chief Mpezeni said this when Agriculture Minister, Mr. Phiri paid a courtesy call on him in Chipata. Mr. Phri had assured the chief that plans were underway to reconsider exporting the extra maize stocks bought by the Food Reserve Agency from the farmers.
The Minister said with the effects of climate change at play, there was a need for government to hold onto the extra maize stocks to avoid plunging the country into hunger.
Meanwhile Kanchibiya member of parliament Sunday Chanda is calling on the minister of agriculture to provide a comprehensive update on the anticipated impact of the dry spell on next year’s agricultural production.
Mr. Chanda has also reiterated his call on government to suspend export of maize in order to remain food secure as a nation in view of the prevailing dry spell which has so far affected some fields in some parts of the country.
Thanks to the pfs favourable agricultural policies
So in terms of Food Security PF Government scored A+. Indeed Zambia was safe even in the midst of impending drought. Ba Lungu mwalibomba. Bumper harvest after Bumper harvest.
According to the USA Department of Agriculture, Zambia consumed 2 450 000 metric tonnes of maize in 2020. The figure is expected to jump to 3 000 000 tonnes in 2021. Should we have a drought this year( all indications are pointing to that) then the 2 000 000 tonnes in storage will not be sufficient to feed the country. If I was in charge of the government I would pause the export of maize until mid February 2022 when a clear picture of the rainfall patern through out the country will be available.
I remember that time we were forced to eat imported maize because of drought. I can see this happening again. Hope this frenzy is not another IMF condition.
HH should have kept PF minister of maize.
Maize stocks are always just estimated but the real situation on the ground is always not known. Consumption may be higher than that estimated. The stored grain might be prone to weevils and other pests which will drastically reduce the reserves. There are so many forced at play here so it’s better to be safe and reduce Exports as Exports can be resumed even next year.
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