A recent survey by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development has predicted another food crisis next year.
In its first round of Agricultural Production Estimates Survey, the ministry has projected maize production at 2,719,425 metric tons, which is 2.0 percent lower than the 2014/15 final round estimate.
Last year the Ministry estimated production of the staple grain at 2,776,277 metric tons a 27.7 percent decline when compared with the 2013/14 agriculture season, rendering close to 3 million people in need of food support.
The national maize requirement for Malawi is about 3 million metric tons.
According to the survey, tobacco production will increase from 192,967,541Kgs in the 2014/15 agricultural season to 211,083,000Kgs this season. Cotton production on the other hand is expected to decline significantly by 43.2 percent.
Rice production is projected to slightly increase by 1.4 percent. Production of groundnuts, beans and pigeon peas is expected to decrease by 4.5, 5.2 and 3.1 percent, respectively. Production of soya beans is on the other hand projected to go up by 6.1 percent.
The Ministry says the objective of the survey was to assess the country’s agricultural production to inform planning and policy direction for the nation. The survey includes all agricultural commodities, thus, crops, livestock and fisheries. The survey is conducted in three rounds every year.
The ministry however says results from the first round may not conclusively inform the ultimate agricultural production as farmers’ intentions can change in the course of implementing respective farm activities; weather conditions and related parameters may also change in the course of the agricultural season.
“Nevertheless, results of the first round provide early warning signals on national food security so that policy makers in the public, private and non state sectors can make informed decisions regarding impending food situation,” it reads.