Zambia Sees 2017 Corn Harvest Rising to More Than 3 Million Tons
Zambia said its corn output may climb to more than 3 million metric tons this year, while the government will maintain an export ban until it receives crop estimates later this month.
Agriculture Minister Dora Siliya said there were “initial indications” of the potential production figure, during a Thursday interview in the capital, Lusaka. Zambia will review its ban on exports of the staple food if the harvest survey due for completion by the end of March shows the country is food secure, she said. An announcement will be made in April.
Zambia, Africa’s second-biggest copper producer, looks set to exceed last year’s corn harvest of 2.87 million tons, as above-average rainfall offsets an invasion of crop-eating armyworms that affected about 20 percent of the planted area. Regional food shortages after two years of drought prompted the government to ban exports last April. Zambian grain traders have warned they may run short of storage space if the restriction remains.
Better rains in 2017 have improved farmers’ prospects across southern Africa, according to Siliya.
“Clearly we’ve had some initial indications that the whole region -- South Africa, Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe -- will do well,” she said.