Malawi expects 25 pct increase in maize production

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-27 15:47:52|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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LILONGWE, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- The maize harvest in Malawi during the 2018-2019 growing year will increase by 25 percent compared to 2017-2018, the country's agriculture minister said here on Tuesday.

Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Joseph Mwanamveka made the announcement when he briefed journalists on the findings of the first round of crop estimates for the year.

He projected that the country will produce 3.4 million metric tons of maize in the 2018-2019 growing year, an increase from 2.7 million tons which was last year's first crop estimate.

The minister said the country is also expecting to produce over 134,000 metric tons of rice and over 32,000 metric tons of cotton.

Mwanamveka said this will be possible due to three factors, namely favorable rains the country is receiving, the government's farm input subsidy program for poor farmers, and the government's efforts to contain fall armyworms across the country.

He also assured the people that his ministry is trying to take all possible measures to counter post-harvest losses, which is another challenge in the country.

"The government has built warehouses across the country, I know there are not enough but we have started and will continue to do so as one of the controls of post-harvest losses," said the minister.

The announcement was a cause for optimism among locals as Malawi has experienced food shortages due to unfavorable weather conditions and fall armyworms in the past two seasons.

Malawi is said to have been losing close to 40 percent of its crop harvests due to poor storage after harvesting.