Malawians should expect poor maize production

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Malawians should brace themselves for more maize shortage next year as government says maize production this growing season is expected to be lower than in the 2014/15 season.

According to the first round of the 2015/16 Agriculture Production Estimates Survey, the country will produce 2,719,425 metric tons of maize, 2 percent lower than the 2014/15 final round estimate of 2,776,277 metric tons.

In a statement, Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development said although the estimates may not conclusively inform the final agricultural production, they provide early warning signals on national food security so that stakeholders can make informed decisions regarding impending food situation.

Maize Malawi

Scarce in Malawi.

“The results may not conclusively inform the ultimate agricultural production as farmers’ intentions can change in the course of implementing respective farm activities; weather conditions and related parameters may also change in the course of the agricultural season,” reads the statement.

Unlike maize however, production of crops such as soya beans and rice is expected to rise by 1.4 percent and 6.1 percent respectively. Tobacco production is also set to increase to 211,083,000Kgs from 192,967,541Kgs in the 2014/15 agricultural season.

But there will be declines in production for cotton (by 43.2 percent), for groundnuts (by 4.5 percent), for beans (by 5.2 percent) and for pigeon peas (by 3.1 percent).

In terms of livestock, the ministry said the population of cattle has increased from 1,398,376, to 1,440,706 representing 3.1 percent increase as compared to the final round for the 2014/15 agricultural season while national fish production has increased from 120,894 metric tons to 149,299 metric tons representing 23.5 percent increase.

Meanwhile, the ministry said the second round activities for the survey are currently underway throughout the country and results for the second round will be released in March 2016.

 

The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development annually conducts Agricultural Production Estimates Survey. The objective of the survey is to assess the country’s agricultural production to inform planning and policy direction for the nation. The survey includes all agricultural commodities, thus, crops, livestock and fisheries. The survey is conducted in three rounds every year.
The second round is conducted from February to March and focuses on verification and adjustment of area measurements for crops grown by the sampled agricultural households, while the third and final round is undertaken during the harvesting period from April to May, involving the weighing of the harvest to obtain actual yield for crops indicating the national food basket and determining the food deficit or surplus.

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