Friday, May 15, 2009

(DAILY MAIL) Zambia records maize surplus

Zambia records maize surplus
By ANGELA CHISHIMBA

THE country has recorded a maize surplus of 203,271 metric tonnes, Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Brian Chituwo has disclosed.

The total maize production forecast in the 2008/2009 season is estimated at 1,888,773 metric tonnes.

Dr Chituwo said the national food balance sheet for the 2009/2010 marketing season based on the Crop Forecasting Survey for the 2008/2009 agricultural production season, shows that the country has produced sufficient maize for both human consumption and industrial utilisation.

Dr Chituwo said this at a press briefing yesterday where he announced the crop forecasting survey for 2008/2009 agricultural season and the food balance status for the 2009/2010 marketing season.

He said in light of the surplus reflected in the food balance sheet, government is ready to review the issue of maize exports.

Dr Chituwo said the total maize requirements take into account government strategic reserve stock of 110,000 mt for the Food Reserve Agency (FRA).

He said the 110,000 mt that FRA will procure for the strategic reserves will be strictly from outlying areas where it is uneconomical for the private sector to reach.

Dr Chituwo appealed to the private sector to immediately start participating in the market to purchase maize from farmers.

He said for an estimated population of 12.9 million people, the food balance sheet shows that the total maize required for human consumption amounts to 1,263,098 metric tonnes (MT).

He said the estimated maize requirement for industrial use, specifically the stock-feed and breweries is 200,000 mt.

Dr Chituwo said maize grain retained for planting and post harvest losses are estimated at 114,439 mt, while provisions for informal cross border trade are estimated at 60,000 mt.

He said the total national maize requirements are estimated at 1,747,537 mt.

Dr Chituwo said due to unfavourable weather conditions experienced in the previous season, which resulted in relatively low production, the country has a modest maize carry-over stock of 62,035 mt.

He said the maize carry-over stocks from last season to the maize production for the 2008/2009 agricultural season brings the total available maize for the 2009/2010 marketing season to 1,950,808 mt.

Dr Chituwo said total maize production this season has increased by 443,118 mt, approximately 31 per cent in comparison to the previous season.

He said the area which was planted with maize marginally increased by 0.07 per cent to 1,125,849 hectares from 1,125,024 hectares.

Dr Chituwo said the increase in maize production this year is attributed largely to the good rains experienced in most parts of the country.

He also said the number of beneficiaries under the Fertiliser Support Programme (FSP) also increased significantly to 200,000 from 125,000 last season.

Dr Chituwo said the relatively attractive price offered to farmers last marketing season may have also contributed to the increase in production this season

He said the production of maize by large scale farmers has increased from 218,000 mt last season, to 231,656 mt this season.

The percentage contribution by small and medium scale farmers to national maize production in the 2008/2009 season is 1,657,117 mt or 88 per cent.

And according to the crop forecasting survey, the national cassava production has been estimated at 1,151,700 mt of cassava flour equivalent.

Total national requirement for cassava is estimated at 687,067 mt. The country remains with a surplus of 464,632 mt.

Dr Chituwo said rice production has been estimated at 41,929 mt, representing a 39 per cent increase over the previous season’s production of approximately 30,258 mt.

The food balance sheet shows that the country has a rice carry-over stock amounting to 178 mt bringing the total rice supply to 42,107 mt against a total requirement of 54,107 mt.

The country faces a rice deficit of 12,000 mt that is expected to be met by private sector imports.

Wheat production has been projected at 195,000 mt for the 2008/2009 season, representing a marginal production increase from 185,000 mt recorded last season.

The country has wheat carry-over stocks amounting to 65,000 mt, bringing the total wheat available to 260,516 against the national requirement of 210,000 mt.

An estimated surplus of wheat amounting to 50,516 mt has been projected.

Dr Chituwo said there had been a general increase in the production of key cash crops such as Soya-bean which increased from 59,000 mt to 118,799 mt.

Sunflower production increased by 118 per cent from 15,405 mt to 33,657 mt, while production of groundnuts increased by 42 per cent from 84,598 mt to 120,564 mt.

The production of mixed beans decreased from 50,488mt last year to 46,735 mt this year, while the production of burley tobacco is anticipated to increase from 15,000,000 kilogramme (kg) to 16,000,000 kg this year.

The production of Virginia tobacco is anticipated to decrease from 15,400,000 kg to 12,000,000 kg this year.

Dr Chituwo said notwithstanding the reported national food security situation, there will be some communities and households that will require support from the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) under the office of the Vice President.

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