labour; land; agriculture; growth

Rain causes anxiety among Zambian farmers

Many farmers are worried after rain lashed parts of Zambia, but the Zambia Meteorological Department (ZMD) has advised farmers not to rush into planting.

ZMD said the rain experienced in parts of the country over the weekend and early this week will subside over the next few days.

“The rains are not here for a long time, so farmers should not start planting their crops,” read an advisory alert by ZMD.

Lusaka, Muchinga, Eastern, Northern and North Western Provinces received rain over the last few days. Mansa, the provincial capital of Luapula, received 37mm, followed by Njalila in Eastern Province with 27mm and Northern Province’s Mpulungu receiving 25mm.

After the rain, farmers countrywide are reportedly calculating whether to plant. Adding to their dilemma is the fact that distribution of farm inputs under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) only starts this weekend.

According to interviews conducted by, farmers mostly worry what to do if they decide to plant and then experienced a lull in rain.

“The situation is unpredictable now because of the changing weather pattern,” said Mike Tembo, a smallholder farmer of Lusaka’s Shamabala, 40 kilometres south of the capital.

His sentiments are echoed by many other farmers.

Meanwhile, government has reiterated its warning against another possible invasion of fall armyworm ahead of the 2017/2018 farming season.

Transport and Communications Minister Brian Mushimba said the weather pattern in Zambia remains conducive for another attack of the devastating pest, as seen in the last season.

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