Govt to undertake crop forecast survey

By Staff Reporter

GOVERNMNET will next month embark on a crop forecast survey to determine the food status of the country, Agriculture minister Michael Katambo has announced.

Katambo explained that the results of the survey would culminate into government knowing the food status for the 2018/2019 marketing season, required for both human consumption and industrial use in the agricultural sector.

Katambo told ZANIS in an interview, that his ministry was equal to the task of making the agriculture sector a key driver of the country’s economic development.

Katambo said his ministry is also conducting consultations with stakeholders on the 2019 marketing modalities.

Katambo revealed that consultations with the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) grain traders, the milling industry, bilateral and multilateral cooperating partners, farmer unions and other key private and public sector players in the agricultural sector are aimed at finding market policy solutions.

He said he would later announce the crop marketing modalities after the completion of consultations with stakeholders and approval by Cabinet.

The Minister regretted that in the last marketing season, FRA procured only 166,831 metric tonnes of maize representing 33.4 % of the targeted national strategic reserve stock of 500,000 metric tonnes, hence the need for the survey.

He further regretted that droughts, floods and other extreme weather and climate events, inflicted most parts of Zambia.

And Katambo said that his ministry was working with the co-operating partners to encourage farmers to adapt to planting drought resistant crops owing to the intensified effects of climate change.

He said government was developing a sustainable, diversified and competitive agriculture sector through the implementation of viable policies and programmes.

Meanwhile, Katambo has commended the farmers, both large and small scale, out growers, agro-dealers, for their hard work aimed at enhancing economic stability and growth in the agricultural sector.

The minister encouraged all stakeholders to continue diversifying their crop production and to take agriculture as a business.