Zambia’s southern areas may face food shortages arising from a recent drought, says the Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI).
In its latest bulletin titled The 2017/2018 dry spells: Should Zambia panic?, IAPRI says the scenario in the southern parts of the country requires the coordination of the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU), the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) and Ministry of Community Development to distribute relief maize and social cash transfers to affected areas.
“Although it may be premature to be definitive about the 2017/’18 level of maize production, the indication is that the country is not going to be food insecure. However, localised food insecurity may exist specially in the southern parts where the dry spell was severe,” reads the report.
To mitigate recurrent dry spells, IAPRI called for increased government and private sector investment in appropriate irrigation solutions, especially for small and medium-scale farmers.
On the prevailing rainfall pattern, IAPRI assured there is no need to panic as the country is likely to have adequate stocks for local consumption and a modest surplus for export. This would be possible based on estimates of 2017/’18 harvest of 2.06 million to 2.42 million tons coupled by carryover stock of nearly 750 000 tons.
According to IAPRI, the decline in the south will be counteracted by the northern areas experiencing high to normal rainfall. This includes Copperbelt, Luapula, Northern and Muchinga provinces, expected to contribute more than 45% of the estimated total production.