Chipata records low crop yields

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—Chipata district has recorded a reduction in maize yield from 3,300,000 metric tonnes in 2012 to 2,400,000 metric tonnes this farming season.

Chipata District Commissioner (DC), Kalunga Zulu, attributed the low crop yields to climatic hazards combined with late planting in some parts of the district.

Mr Zulu told ZANIS in an interview that according to the preliminary crop forecast of 2012/13 season released by the Ministry of Agriculture in the district some crops have recorded low production while others have increased.

He said while other crops have recorded low yields, others like groundnuts have increased production from 358,000 metric tonnes last seasons to 870,000 metric tonnes in this year’s season.

“Maize reduced its yield due to some climate variances that characterized the last farming season in the district,” he said.

The DC said due to low yields in the last farming season it was possible for hunger to loom if farmers in the district sell all their produce.

“Farmers should not sell all their produce but instead leave some for their consumption to avoid hunger in the district,” he emphasised.

He further called on farmers not to sell their maize to briefcase businessmen and women, saying they should wait for the market to open when the price for maize was competitive.

Mr Zulu appealed to farmers to exercise patience, adding that government is aware of the demand for money that they were experiencing.