Zambia Key Message Update, May 2017
Record maize production attained due to good rains
A record maize harvest was estimated for the 2016/27 cropping season. The Crop Forecast Survey (CFS) announced that national maize production is estimated to be 3.6 million MT, which is 27 percent above the recent five-year average. Despite the widespread fall armyworm infestation at the start of the season and delays in the distribution of government subsidized inputs, the attractive maize prices during the previous marketing season as well as the favorable rainfall supported a very good harvest this season. With moderate carryover stock, the estimated large maize supply (4.18 million MT) will be more than adequate to meet national cereal demand with an exportable surplus of about 1.18 million MT. Several other crops, including soybeans and groundnuts, also experienced a significant production increase due to attractive 2015/16 prices. Sorghum, rice, and millet production also registered an increase.
Most rural households are accessing own produced staple foods and a variety of seasonal foods including groundnuts, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and seasonal vegetables. Given the improved food availability at the household and national level, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity is projected for the remainder of the outlook period. Market demand for staple food has already started reducing.
Maize and meal prices have started falling after peaking in the February/March period as market demand for staple food has already started reducing. In April, moderate (15 percent) price declines were recorded in a few districts while maize meal prices reductions were reported in most districts as expected this time of the year. Maize and meal prices are expected to fall below levels of the previous season between now and September. They are typically expected to stabilize from July up to September, but remain above average. Reduction in meal prices will be less steep than maize grain given the recent 50 percent increase in cost of power which will increase processing costs. Overall, reduction in maize and meal prices will translate into making the staple food much more accessible to market-dependent households, especially in urban areas.