By NOEL IYOMBWA
THE Ministry of Agriculture plans to buy 1, 000, 000 metric tonnes of maize for the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) in the cereal balance sheet this year.
Speaking during the crop forecast survey for the year 2019 and 2020, Mr. Katambo said FRA’s target has been 500, 000 metric tonnes.
He said that the surplus was expected to be more than 710, 000 metric tonnes.
Mr. Katambo said that despite factoring in the higher FRA maize purchase target of 1, 000, 000 metric tonnes, the country had still managed to record a maize surplus of over 210, 000 metric tonnes in 2020.
“What this now implies is that the country is food secure and will remain as such for the next year to come, provided smuggling is controlled.
“With a projected population of over 17 million people, the total maize required is 3, 356, 617 metric tonnes.
“The total requirements are broken down as 1, 603, 383 metric tonnes for human consumption, one million metric tonnes for strategic food reserves and 409, 018 metric tonnes for industrial requirements.
“Taking into account all the requirements and post-harvest all the requirements and post-harvest losses, the country is expected to have a surplus of 210, 098 metric tonnes,” Mr. Katambo said
He said that small and medium scale farmers are expected to contribute up to 93 percent which is 3, 160, 185 metric tonnes of the total maize production, while the large scale farmers are expected to produce 227, 284 metric tonnes of maize or seven per cent of the total maize production.
Mr. Katambo explained that although the national average yield rate for maize has increased to 2.07 metric tonnes per hectare from 1.29 metric tonnes per hectare last season, the yield per hectare is still very low, and can do better as a country.
The minister said that it is the intention of government to ensure that maize becomes an export crop adding that this can only be possible after meeting the national requirements.
And the minister has disclosed that the production of rice is also forecast to increase by 17 per cent to 34,630 metric tonnes from 29,584 metric tonnes last season.
By NOEL IYOMBWA