• The assurance is not guaranteed.
• Southern province which is one of the major contributors to the food basket is flooded and crops washed away.
• The best way for the country to be food secure is to stop the export of maize.
Zambia Consumer Association (ZACA) says government’s assurance that there are sufficient maize stocks to cater for the country’s consumption next year is not guaranteed.
Speaking in an interview with Money FM News, Association Executive Secretary Juba Sakala noted that half of Southern province which is one of the major contributors to the food basket is flooded and some crop fields have been washed away by flash floods, hence food security is not certain.
Mr. Sakala also stated that Zambia experienced a prolonged drought from October last year to early January 2022, and there is no guarantee that the rains will go up to April for the country to have a good harvest.
“The assurance is not guaranteed because we know places like Southern Province is one of the contributors to the food basket now half of it is flooded and we know that fields and crops have been washed away.”
“In addition we had prolonged drought from October to early January, the rain just stabilized now but there is no guarantee that these rains will go up to April for us to have a good harvest. With all factors put together, the probability doesn’t warrant us a good harvest,” Mr. Sakala noted.
He said the best way for the country to be food secure is to stop the export of maize and reserve whatever is available for domestic consumption.
Mr. Sakala also challenged Ministry of Agriculture to take stock of the crop and give an overview or projection of this year’s maize harvest.
“The best way is to stop the exports and reserve whatever we have, besides we need to be feeding flood victims till April next year. We also ask Government through Ministry of Agriculture to take stock of crop and give an overview or status,” he added.
Recently, Agriculture Minister Reuben Phiri insisted that government will not ban the export of maize because there are sufficient stocks of maize to cater for the country’s consumption next year in an event of poor yields arising from the 2021/2022 farming season due to poor rainfall coupled with the outbreak of army worms.