Carryover stocks ease concerns over Zambia’s lower maize crop

Zambia’s 2022/23 maize harvest is expected to be 25,2% lower than last year’s. The crop has been forecast at 2,7 million tons, compared with 3,62 million tons recorded in 2021/2022.

Carryover stocks ease concerns over Zambia’s lower maize crop
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The country’s minister of agriculture, Reuben Phiri, ascribed the drop to a decline in the area planted from 1,69 million hectares last season to 1,51 million hectares this season.

“This is coupled with a reduction in yield from 2,14t/ha last season to 1,8t/ha during the period under review,” he told Food Business Africa.

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Phiri said the country’s small- and medium-scale farming households were expected to contribute 96% of this year’s harvest, with large-scale farmers making up the rest.

According to him, Zambia would remain food-secure, as the total carryover stocks held by farmers, millers, grain traders and the country’s Food Reserve Agency (FRA) had stood at 1,5 million tons on 1 May 2022.

The FRA was established to ensure a reliable supply of designated agricultural commodities, meet local shortfalls, and stabilise prices.

According to, the FRA’s goal is to complete the value chain by providing market access to small- scale farmers in rural areas. It is also responsible for the management of food emergencies caused by natural disasters.

“The total available maize supply in the 2022/23 agricultural marketing season is 4,21 million tons, sufficient to meet the estimated local demand of three million tons,” Phiri added.

The retail price for maize in Zambia on 26 June 2023 hovered between R7,46/kg and R9,91/kg.

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Annelie Coleman represents Farmer’s Weekly in the Free State, North West and Northern Cape. Agriculture is in her blood. She grew up on a maize farm in the Wesselsbron district where her brother is still continuing with the family business. Annelie is passionate about the area she works in and calls it ‘God’s own country’. She’s particularly interested in beef cattle farming, especially with the indigenous African breeds. She’s an avid reader and owns a comprehensive collection of Africana covering hunting in colonial Africa, missionary history of same period, as well as Rhodesian literature.