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Survey allays hunger fears

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By Audrey Kapalamula:

The second round crop estimate survey has shown that the country will still have a surplus in maize production and other crops despite experiencing disasters in March this year.

The second round survey was conducted from February to March and focuses on verification and adjustments of area measurement of grown crops and provides an account of the maize crop.

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The survey says the country will produce 3,355,232 metric tonnes of maize from 3,387, 587 metric tonnes reported in the first round survey.

This indicates a 24.36 percentage points increase as compared to the final crop estimates of 2017/18 farming season.

Minister of Agriculture Irrigation and Water Development, Joseph Mwanamvekha, at the dissemination of the results, said the devastating effects of climate change experienced lately have had minimal impact on maize and other crops.

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“When we had heavy winds and disasters, most crops had already matured. The affected crops only submerged in water so there is no huge impact,” he said

Mwanamvekha said floods and contributing factors such as dry spell and pests have led to the decline in maize production by 32,355 tonnes mainly in Machinga, Blantyre and some parts of the Central Region.

Cotton and wheat are among crops that have been affected, registering a 22.56 percent and 51.90 percent decrease, respectively.

The ministry said it intends to provide seeds to people affected to resume production.

“We will need to give them [people affected by floods] seeds, cassava and cuttings and we will start distributing that next week. Some companies have started giving us maize. Everyone affected shall go back to produce [food],” he said

The crop production outlook has an impact on the economy and gives policy direction to the country.

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