DARLINGTON MWENDABAI, Chipata
EASTERN Province is expected to harvest about 881,400 metric tonnes of maize from the 2016-2017 farming season, compared to last year’s 600,000 metric tonnes.
Provincial agriculture coordinator Roy Lumamba said this year’s maize crop forecast shows that the region will produce more than 200,000 metric tonnes.
Mr Lumamba said in Chipata during his 2017 maize crop forecast press briefing that Eastern Province will have the highest maize yield countrywide followed by Central Province.
“It is also pleasing to note that Lundazi district is the highest maize producer in the whole country, with an expected maize production of 296,400 metric tonnes,” he said.
He said the province has done better in terms of crop yields largely because of the favourable rainfall pattern.
Mr Lumamba said the last farming season had its own challenges such as delayed distribution of farming inputs such as subsidised fertiliser and pest attacks such as army worms, which affected about 25,000 hectares of cultivated land, representing eight percent damage.
He said early government interventions and commitment of farmers to plant their crops not only maize but soya beans yielded a positive result.
He said because of concerted efforts of Government and farmers, the province is also expected to record high yields in sunflower of about 36,200 metric tonnes with 2,260 metric tonnes of rice and about 57,200 metric tonnes of groundnuts, respectively.