Agriculture Minister, Reuben Mtolo Phiri has allayed fears that the country could be food insecure next year due to erratic rainfall.
Mr. Phiri has re-assured the nation that there are sufficient stocks of maize to cater for the country’s consumption next year in an event of poor yields arising from the 2021/2022 farming season due to poor rainfall coupled with the outbreak of armyworms.
Mr. Phiri insisted that the government will therefore not ban the export of maize and explained that the country will be setting bad precedence by banning the export of maize and other agricultural produce.
His sentiments were echoed by Vice President Mutale Nalumango who assured the nation of food security for now despite floods that have ravaged some areas.
Ms. Nalumango said the maize stored in different Food Reserve Agency (FRA) sheds in the country give hope that the nation is still food secure.
She was speaking when she toured the largest FRA storage shed in Southern Province located in Kalomo.
She said she was happy with the way the FRA is keeping the grain, and advised the agency to continue protecting the commodity from moisture to avoid losses.
Ms. Nalumango said it would be prudent to keep the maize grain well, especially since the country is experiencing floods.
And Southern Province Minister, Cornelius Mweetwa, told the Vice President that the defence forces which were engaged to transport the maize to FRA sheds, affirmatively concluded the “Operation Butala” at a minimum cost.
Mr. Mweetwa said the province was one of the regions that had surplus maize which was not budgeted for.
He said upon taking over the leadership of the country, the new dawn administration decided to buy all the maize from farmers because it was almost going to waste.
Meanwhile, FRA Southern Region Marketing Officer, Precious Kalamba, disclosed that the Kalomo sheds are holding over 400, 000 bags of maize weighing 50 kilograms each.