Drought in Zambia, maize output could fall by half due to unpredictable weather

Due to a prolonged drought in Zambia, maize production could fall from the current 3.6 million tonnes to 2 million tonnes this crop season if the current dry spell continues.
Zambia’s maize production may drop around 50 per cent in the current 2017-2018 crop season if a dry spell that the nation is experiencing continues, an industry body has warned.
Drought in Zambia and dependence on rain-fed maize The crop production season runs from October-November when the land is prepared and planting is carried out, to March-April when the crops are ready to be harvested in almost all regions.
Small-scale farmers contribute more than half of the consumed calories in the country.
Two years ago, maize production rose to 3.6 million tonnes in the 2016-2017 season, from 2.9 million tonnes the previous season.
We may be lucky to hit 1.8-2 million tonnes of maize,” he continued.
How the conditions for vegetation have deteriorated Experts at the SADC secretariat have expressed fears that low rainfall in the region has led to delays in planting as well as crop moisture stress in some areas.
“The vegetation conditions have deteriorated in the southern and eastern part of the region,” experts warn in the Food Security Early Warning System Agromet Update.
Small-Scale Farmers Development Agency (SAFADA) director Boyd Moobwe said the persistence of dry weather across the country, coupled with the high prices of farming inputs, were taking a huge blow on subsistence farmers and creating some concern for the sustainability of the sector.
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