ZAMBIA – Zambia’s maize production in the marketing year 2022/2023 is expected to reach 2,706,243 metric tons, a decline of 25.2% from 3,620,244 metric tons recorded in 2020/2021.
The decline according to Zambia’s Minister of Agriculture Rueben Phiri is attributed to the decline in the area planted from 1,687,929 hectares last season to 1,507,441 hectares.
This is coupled with a reduction in yields from 2.14 metric tons per hectare last season to 1.80 metric tons per hectare during the period under review.
Mr Phiri says of the total estimated production of 2,706,243 metric tons of maize, the small and medium scale farming households are expected to contribute 96 per cent while the large-scale farmers are projected to contribute 4 per cent.
Despite the expected decline in production, the country will remain to be food secure as of 1st May 2022, the total carryover stocks held by farmers, millers, grain traders and the food reserve agency was 1,503,432 metric tons.
To this end the total available maize supply in the 2022/2023 agricultural marketing season is 4,209,675 metric tons, sufficient to meet the estimated local demand of 3,004,763metric tons.
With an expected surplus of over 1 million metric tonnes of maize, the South African country has highlighted it will maintain an open border policy for exports in line with regional and international trade protocols.
To this end, Zambia will turn focus to some of its key markets like the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
In 2019, Zambia signed a memorandum of understanding with the DRC to export 600,000 tons of corn to that country annually.
The agreement aims to deter informal trade flows and promote formalized corn exports to the DRC. Zambia could exploit this agreement in the 2022/23 MY to export surplus corn.
Kenya’s maize production to recover in 2022/2023
Meanwhile in East Africa’s largest economy, Kenya, maize production in the Marketing Year (MY) 2021/2022) is estimated to decline by 23 percent year-on-year to 3.1 million metric tonnes (MMT) due to drought and untimely rains.
However, production volumes in 2022/2023 are set to be redeemed to 3.2 million MMT, registering a 3 percent year-on-year rise.
Despite the grain being a primary staple in the country, consumption levels are expected to remain flat in 2022/23 at about 4 million MT, due to supply constraints and shifting consumer preferences.
With demand set to be higher that local production levels, the country’s corn imports are set at 700,000 MT.