By Ida Kazembe
The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development estimates that this year’s maize production will be at 3,387,587 metric tons, representing a 25.6 percent increase in production as compared to the 2017/2018 final round estimate of 2,697,959 metric tons.
The production increase was mentioned during the 2018/2019 agricultural production estimate survey presentation on Tuesday in Lilongwe by Minister of Agriculture, Joseph Mwanamvekha.
According to Mwanamvekha, the increase has been realized due to a number of factors which include good rainfall distribution in most parts of the country and government’s initiatives to improve crop production.
“This season, the country has received favourable weather conditions for crop production with most parts receiving an average of 400-800 millimeters (mm) representing an average to above average rainfall amounts which has enabled the realization of a good maize crop and other crops too,” said Mwanamvekha.
On government’s crop production initiatives, Mwanamvekha referred to the Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP), promotion of legume production, fall army worm management as well as drought recovery and resilience programs as some of the key remedies that have resulted in national improved production.
“For this year, FISP targeted one million beneficiaries as compared to the 900, 000 targeted in the previous season which means that more beneficiaries were empowered to take advantage of this year’s good rains, hence the increased production,” Mwanamvekha added.
He disclosed that government through the ministry produced and distributed legume seed for 3, 900 hectares to increase its production, decisively dealt with the fall armyworm by acquiring and distributing over 25, 000 litres of pesticides to all districts in the country.
Mwanamvekha, therefore, reiterated government’s stand of ensuring that no single person dies of hunger in this country by assuring Malawians that all will be done to assist those who may be affected by hunger despite the general good crop outlook.
Meanwhile, the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services has indicated that the country is likely to continue experiencing a good rainfall pattern from February to April 2019.-MANA