TRYNESS TEMBO, Lusaka
A RESEARCH institute says the general livestock conditions have improved significantly due to increased water availability and good pasture following the favourable rainfall experienced in the 2016/17 farming season.
Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWNET), a research body of the United States Agency for International Development provides information and analysis on food insecurity in various parts of the world, made its forecast in its latest findings.
The routine vaccination being carried out for contagious bovine pleuropneumonia and foot-and-mouth disease in different parts of the country has curbed disease outbreaks.
“The ongoing anthrax outbreak in the Western Province is likely to reduce income for better-off households as income from livestock sales will be cut off in affected districts.
“For other districts in Western Province, the market will shrink as they may not be able to sell their animals outside the province during the outlook period of February to September,” FEWNET notes in an update on southern African regional supply and market outlook availed to the Daily Mail on Wednesday.
On cash crop production, FEWNET says most farmers planted soybeans, sunflower and groundnuts in the 2016/17 farming season because of the favourable prices on the market.
The report notes that some farmers abandoned cotton and tobacco crops over the past few seasons due to their fluctuating prices in the previous periods, which might lead to a drop in the production.
Meanwhile, FEWNET says prices of maize are likely to reduce from June to September as households’ stock and market demand reduce, coupled with the low regional demand, given the expected regional harvest prospects.
“This should improve food access for market-dependent households,” the institute says.
Generally, the acute food insecurity outcomes will be minimal for most parts of the country during the outlook period except for areas in the south-west and south-east, which were stressed up to March, but will improve to minimal for the remainder of the outlook period.