FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops & Shortages 4/01 - Zambia

Cereal production in 2000/01 was affected by heavy and continuous rains that resulted in localized floods in several areas, particularly along the Zambezi and Luangwa Rivers, as well as by severe dry weather in the southern areas. A final estimate for maize, the staple of the country, is not yet available. FAO's preliminary forecast points to a crop of 950 000 tonnes, 28 percent lower than last year. At this level, and taking into account available stocks, there is a deficit of 300 000 tonnes of maize in marketing year 2001/02 (May/April) to be covered through commercial imports and food aid. In mid-July, the Government launched an appeal to the international community for 98 000 tonnes of food aid to assist 2 million people in the 42 districts, out of the 73 in the country, that had been declared in a state of emergency. However, vulnerability assessments being undertaken by WFP suggest that food aid needs of the most severely affected 1.28 million people in 23 districts amount to 42 000 tonnes of cereals. Final findings of the assessment will be available in the next few weeks.
As a result of the decline in production, maize prices started to rise in June, which is somewhat earlier than expected. By mid-August, into-mill prices for maize in Lusaka were of the order of US$136 to US$158 per tonne. The Government has announced that it will take measures to prevent further increases in maize prices and has started distribution of maize in eastern parts of the country. It also announced a ban on maize exports in early September.