The Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) says the late rainfall over large parts of Zambia last weekend will delay the start of the maize marketing season.
The season is scheduled to start on June 1.
“The rain increased the moisture content and the process of dropping to the required level is slow. This will result in delays in the sale of crops,” said Kakoma Kaleyi, ZNFU communication manager.
Low moisture content and low storage temperatures reduce the chance for deterioration and microbial growth.
Aeration, therefore, is an important operation in maize storage as a means of keeping down the relative humidity.
ZNFU advised farmers to bend down the upper part of the plant holding the ear to speed up drying.
“This practice does not only help to speed up drying but also prevents the kernels from getting soaked when it rains,” he said.
Kaleyi assured farmers that the weekend’s rain will not damage their crop, and that some buyers and traders who owned dryers could enter the market on schedule.
The Zambian Meteorological Department (ZMD) warned Zambian farmers to cover their crop as more sporadic rain is expected.
Zambia expected a bumper maize harvest of 3.6 million tons for the 2016/2017 farming season.