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.