Zambia's maize output to rise after rains, armyworm curb

Zambia's maize crop rose to 2.87 million tonnes in 2015/2016 from 2.60 million tonnes the previous season.

Picture: AFP.

LUSAKA - Heavier rainfall should help Zambia maintain a maize surplus this season with production due to top the 2015/16 harvest, an industry official said on Monday.

Zambia's maize crop rose to 2.87 million tonnes in 2015/2016 from 2.60 million tonnes the previous season.

Zambia's annual maize consumption is 1.8 million tonnes.

"The crop is good because we haven't had a dry spell since the rain started and we only hope this will not lead to floods," Coillard Hamusimbi, the head of agribusiness at the Zambia National Farmers' Union, said.

Hamusimbi said an outbreak of South American armyworms had been contained at an early stage and crops had recovered.

The planting season in the southern African nation runs from November to December and the harvesting takes place in April and May.

It was too early to put an accurate figure to 2016/2017 maize production as the results of a crop forecast would only be ready by the end of April, Hamusimbi said.