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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Zambian commercial farmers might shy away from growing maize

Economy Zambian commercial farmers might shy away from growing maize

Minister of Agriculture, Reuben Mtolo, has disclosed that commercial farmers might shy away from planting maize because of the cost of production attached to it.

Mr. Mtolo said he had a meeting with farmers recently where they expressed concern with the cost of maize.

He was speaking in Lusaka yesterday when visiting European Union (EU) Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, called on him.

The minister told the EU official that the Russia-Ukraine war has led to an increase in the cost of maize production.

Mr. Mtolo has however said Zambia is food secure although certain stakeholders are uncomfortable with the country’s decision to export to neighbouring countries because of the cost of maize.

“I had a meeting with them, they were very open to say ‘we are not going to go into maize if we are going to buy fertilizer at an equivalent of a 1,200 or 1,400 dollars per ton, what price would we sell the maize at, at that margin for us to make profit?” he said.

And European Union Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, said there is a need for African countries to be self-sufficient to avoid shocks that have come with the Russia-Ukraine war.

Mr. Wojciechowski said Zambia needs to increase crop production to levels where the country will not be affected by external shocks.

He said issues of global food insecurity need to be urgently addressed.

Mr. Wojciechowski observed that Zambia has a huge potential to increase agriculture production.

“Zambia has a huge potential which we can together give support and exchange of views, knowledge and experience on how to increase the production but in a sustainable way,” Mr. Wojciechowski.


  1. I think the Minister has been misled or he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Commercial farmers can’t shun maize because they produce for stock-feed and maize is still an important component apart from soya beans. They don’t sell their produce to FRA or millers. Zambia’s food security is in the hands of small-scale or peasant farmers. They’re the ones that sell their maize and other produce to FRA and millers. Commercial farmers can easily make up for the high cost of production by adjusting the prices of their products like eggs, pork, beef, chickens, fish etc. My concern is that it seems the Minister doesn’t know what’s going on in his Ministry, how does he oversee its operations?

  2. Commercial farmers perform crop rotation: three or even four different crop types on the same land; pretty sure that one of those is maize. Although with the current very high wheat prices they might go for wheat and forget about maize this year.

  3. What is he talking about? His Government found the fertilizer price at K470.00 but have increased it to K1,000.00 per bag. Or is he trying to indirectly appeal to the president to do something about the price? If so, I salute him.

  4. So the minister should find solution to the problem by reducing prices of fertilizer and
    Other inputs then say farmers not interested
    In growing maize.give incentives to farmers.

  5. Producer Price Index PPI is a pointer to where Inflation CPI will be say 2O30 It tells you about the cost of ouput and if that is rising for agro foods and others complementary then as trending inflation could be significantly trending upwards and could be beyond 2026 given good and composition of it in inflation measures So if you say cost is increasing then other measures will reflect The issue is how now you manage and ensure the costs and attractiveness in most important foods not only for meal but also for feed It’s a deliberate policy to manage both the supply and demand to ensure the cost is within averages As we go davos and attend the emergency meeting on food crisis by finance ministers the ensure is how will you ensure food and agro performance

  6. Solutions to reduce agro inputs plus technologies to support farming because with technology there is no excuse for not or say climate change you adapt the methods and still produce more yields

  7. #6 it’s difficult to follow what you would to put across. Your sentences are usually long and unpunctuated. You write good points but I have to struggle to follow.

  8. Yaa productivity is factor of all including markets and machines in technologies that can lower costs in agro

  9. It’s not only commercial farmers but all farmers including small scale farmers, peasant farmers, backyard growers etc etc who are going to shun planting maize this year due to the high cost of fertilizer. If government doesn’t intervene then we will be importing maize next year at exorbitant prices.

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