‘Zambia has enough maize despite…’

THE Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI) has observed that although Zambia is likely to record a reduction in maize production due to poor rainfall, the country has enough cereal and even surplus for export.
According to a 2014/15 overview presented by IAPRI’s Antony Chapoto, Zambia is expected to record a reduction in maize production in the next marketing season due to rains experienced this year.
Prolonged dry spells have persisted in some parts of the country especially in areas where planting was late.
Dr Chapoto said the crops are still in early grain filling stage and in need of a lot of moisture to reach full maturity.
“The persistent dryness could also signify an early cessation of the rainy season similar to the situation which prevailed in the previous season, when the rains ended by mid-March in most parts of the country…the yields are likely to be significantly reduced due to the poor rain pattern in some parts of the country,” Mr Chapoto said.
He said despite this situation, Zambia has large stocks of maize which will translate into exportable surplus in the coming marketing season.
Mr Chapoto, however, said there is need to maintain an open border maize policy in order to make Zambia a reliable maize supplier.
He said Government should consider discounting the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) depot price to increase demand for Zambian maize, which is currently not competitive in the region, and minimise losses.
“Consider making FRA maize stocks immediately available for purchase by both formal and informal traders, hammer-millers and the public. This will promote private sector participation and prevent maize from going to waste,” he said.

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