An international organisation which provides early warning and analysis on food insecurity, says Zambia’s maize harvest prospects for this season looks good, despite pest infestation and delays in input delivery.
“Given the good seasonal rainfall, crop conditions are good, and household level food stocks will significantly improve,” reads the latest update by the Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS-NET).
According to FEWS-NET, by June households will start consuming staples, including maize, other than seasonal foods. This improves poor household consumption and dietary diversity.
The prospect of a good harvest can also help poor households reduce dependency on food purchases. FEWS-NET says maize and meal prices currently remain exceptionally high, despite Zambia’s large stocks. “These above average prices are making it increasingly difficult for poor households to access food,” it states.
Estimates show Zambia will have a total of 915 000 tons of maize stock prior to the 2017 harvest. A further 120 000 tons are expected from farmers who planted early maturing maize.
A current moratorium on grain exports, however, raised concerns among farmers of a possible over-supply of maize stock and lower prices. FEWS-NET projects that the prices for maize and meal-meal will decrease around April.
“Given the continued high demand for maize and meal-meal from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi and Zimbabwe, the prices will remain high up until March, and thereafter decrease as new harvest kicks in,” FEWS-NET says.
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