maize harvests

Government has estimated a maize harvest of 3,606,549 tonnes in the 2016/17 growing season, the highest ever recorded in Zambia, up from 2,873,052 tonnes in 2015/16. The increase was driven by good rains, larger area planted and more fertiliser used (up by 20.5% from 2015/16), which offset the onslaught of armyworms, stalk borers and migratory locusts. Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya used the opportunity to lift the ban on export of maize and maize products, as Zambia is currently sitting on 569,317 tonnes from 2015/16. The Food Reserve Agency will be mandated to buy up to 500,000 tonnes of the new maize in 2017 for strategic food reserves. Zambia needs a total of 2,997,350 tonnes of maize a year to cover human consumption, industrial use and other commitments. Most other crops have also improved, including millet, sorghum, rice, groundnuts, mixed beans, cassava, soya beans, wheat and burley tobacco, while the harvests of virginia tobacco and cotton are estimated to drop.