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Survey estimates food surplus

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By Audrey Kapalamula:

MWANAMVEKHA—We are committed

First round of crop production estimates has shown that the country may have a maize surplus of 689,628 metric tonnes (mt), a 25.6 percent increase as compared to final crop estimates for 2017/2018.

Last year, the country had a final crop production of 2,697,959 mt while the first round crop production survey estimated a total of 3,387,587 mt.

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Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Joseph Mwanamvekha, Tuesday attributed the development to good rainfall pattern, implementation of agriculture initiatives and good management of the fall army worm.

“This is just an estimate; we are going to do second and third round [estimates]. So our expectation is that we will continue to have good rains between now to May. We are glad to hear weather experts telling us that we will continue getting good rains up to that time. So we anticipate that our projection will remain accurate and that we are not going to have adverse developments between now and May,” he said

Mwanamvekha said the ministry, would engage stakeholders to continue monitoring the food situation so that they take informed policy direction.

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He indicated that rice production is expected to increase by 19.5 percent while that of cotton is expected to increase by 35.3 percent due to availability of seed and favourable weather conditions.

The survey results have also shown an expected increase in Livestock population with that of cattle increasing from 1.6 million to 1.7 million, millet and sorghum, legumes and horticulture crops have also increased.

The country’s food requirement is pegged at 3 million mt of maize a year. Currently, the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) has 106,137.8 mt of maize in stock.

The results of the second round will be released in the first week of April 2019.

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