Commercial farmers bemoans maize export ban

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Commercial farmers bemoans maize export ban

Mkushi, May 2, ZANIS ——-Commercial farmers in Mkushi’s farming Block have cited the ban of maize exports as being amongst the most pertinent challenges that affected maize production over the past farming season.


Mkushi’s Farmers Association (MFA) Chairperson Andrew Moffat disclosed this during an interview with ZANIS today.


Mr Moffat said that the closure of Borders for maize exports negatively affected Commercial Farmers as the move is said to have limited their earnings to the domestic market.


He said that Commercial Farmers in Mkushi still felt that the export market provided a substantial percentage of their projected revenues.


He said that coupled with the ban on maize export, operations amongst the commercial farmers were ruffled when the country discontinued with basing the prices on the United States Dollar (USD).


Mr Moffat said whilst commercial farmers had wholesomely embraced the rationale of rebasing the Kwacha, many had experienced increased production costs following this move.


He explained that the resultant effects on the production costs that were being incurred by commercial farmers, suggested that the Kwacha had depreciated.


Mr Moffat further mentioned that the rain pattern from the latest farming season, had also caused much concern amongst commercial farmers as many believed that a decrease in crop yield was likely.


And in a related development, Chief Chitina of the Swaka People of Mkushi acknowledged that the rain pattern from the just ended season was rather heavy and short lived.


Chief Chitina who is a prominent farmer himself, observed that small scale farmers were likely to be the most affected by that rain pattern as they were more dependent on rain fed farming.


Chief Chitina whose domain contains the highest number of registered farmers in the district, said that a reduction in the crop output looked very likely especially for crops such as maize.


He however gave his full backing to government’s policy of encouraging diversified farming as a business, saying that this policy was designed to widen the crop marketing options for farmers.


He said that government had done well to encourage farming methods such as conservation farming as well as strategies such as the utilization of irrigation appliances, adding that such measures were coping strategies to counter variations of the rain pattern.


Chief Chitina said that government also deserved to be commended for improvements in aspects such as delivery of Farmer Input Support Program (FISP) inputs as well as collection of maize from Food Reserve Agency (FRA) satellite depots.


And with the District Agriculture Coordination Office (DACO) still awaiting the latest crop forecasts, Mkushi is said to have recorded a total maize output of 78,160 metric tonnes during the previous 2011—2012 farming season.


Further data obtained from the DACO shows that the district recorded 130,000.2 metric tonnes of maize as total output from the 2010—2011 farming season.