Minister of Agriculture, Michael Katambo says according to a crop forecast survey for the 2020/2021 agricultural season, Zambia expects to harvest up to 3,620,244 metric tonnes of maize this year as compared to the 3,387,469 metric tonnes produced last season.
The Minister says the 7 percent increase in maize production is due to a combination of early delivery of inputs, good rains and the adoption of good agricultural practices by farmers. Mr. Katambo says as at 3rd May, 2021 carryover stock was 840,944 metric tonnes with the total supply of maize available for the 2021/2022 marketing season standing at 4,461,188 metric tonnes.
Mr. Katambo says given the current total stock and taking the national requirement of 2,932,208 metric tonnes into account, the country is expected to have a surplus of 1,528, 980 metric tonnes of maize. The Minister also announced that Zambia is expected to record increases in the production of sweet potatoes, groundnuts, soya beans, sunflower, rice, wheat, tobacco and mixed beans while, declines are expected in the production of Irish potatoes, sorghum, millet, cassava, Barley and Seed cotton.
As regards export of grain, the Minister indicated that government will this year continue with regulated exports of maize and mealie meal but, says mealie meal exports will continue under the Government Millers Association of Zambia programme.
Mr. Katambo further added that government has accepted a request by the World Food Programme (WFP) to buy Zambian maize and mealie meal equivalent for export to countries in need. Mr. Katambo said government would allow the export of 80,000 metric tonnes of maize by the World Food Programme for humanitarian purposes.