Soya production soared by 41 000 tons and groundnut production increased by 20 000 tons in 2016. According to the Indaba Agriculture Policy Institute (IAPRI) the rise in production is the result of crop diversification driven by government and other agriculture stakeholders.
“Improving the performance of soya beans and groundnuts holds a significant opportunity for improving the livelihoods for smallholder farmers,” said Ballard Zulu, IAPRI outreach director.
The institute said the rise in soya production surpassed Zambia’s domestic demand by more than 18 000 tons. The domestic requirement is pegged at 230 000 tons. “This indicated that Zambia had sufficient stocks of the commodity to meet domestic demand and surplus for export,” Zulu said.
According to a report by the IAPRI, the production of soya and associated yields had been fluctuating in the last few years, due to weather patterns.
Zulu said groundnut production, which showed a decline in the recent past, increased to 131 526 tons in 2016 from 111 429 in 2015. The crop is the second most widely grown by smallholder farmers.
He said opportunities in the increase of groundnut production are magnified by the global rise in the price of the commodity, thanks to growing demand in China.
IAPRI cautioned against recycling of groundnut seeds, saying the practice results in the deterioration of yields.
“Farmers continuously recycling groundnut seed had results in yields remaining below one ton, with fluctuations from year to year,” Zulu said.
He said the situation can be mitigated by the establishment of testing facilities, which are freely available to companies seeking to export groundnuts.
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