By Memory Chatonda – Mana.
Civil Society Agriculture Network (CisaNet) National Director, Pamela Kuwali has encouraged farmers in the country to continue taking good care of their crops to maintain the production outlook of this year’s harvest.
She was commenting on the first round of Agricultural Production Survey released by Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development on Tuesday that showed an increase in production of cereals, legumes, roots and tubers, livestock and fisheries.
According to the survey, for cereals, there is an increase in maize production of 8.8 per cent from 3,391,924 metric tonnes in 2018/2019 to 3, 691,866 in 2019/2020 growing season.
On another hand, rice production has increased by 9.8 per cent followed by millet with 8.9 per cent and Sorghum by 3 percent.
Legumes like groundnuts, soya, pigeon peas and beans have seen an increase in production of about 9.15 per cent on average while Cotton production has gone up from 25,331 metric tonnes in 2018/2019 to 52,389 metric tonnes in 2019/2020 growing season representing 106.8 per cent.
On roots and tubers, there is also an increase in production with bananas at 5.9 per cent, potatoes at 19.4 pe rcent and cassava at 0.9 per cent.
On livestock, the survey indicates an increase in production with cattle at 4 per cent, pigs 7.7 per cent, sheep 3.2 per cent, goats 7.5 per cent, rabbits 5.5 per cent and quails at 192.5 per cent while on fisheries, the report shows a decrease in fish production from 202,092 metric tonnes to 169,140 metric tonnes, representing 19.1 per cent.
Despite a slight decrease in fisheries, Kuwali described the initial crop estimates as a welcome development, saying the country was likely to have an increase in total production, which in turn, would improve food security with an expected positive impact on the economy
“This is welcome news. Suffice to mention that this has been made possible because of favourable weather conditions this year as most parts of the country received adequate rains and also increase in uptake of inputs by farmers.
“However, considering the fact that we are still in the middle of the growing season, we must keep in mind that these are just estimates; we can only hope that between now and harvest time nothing will happen to reverse the outlook,” Kuwali said in response to Malawi News Agency (Mana) questionnaire on Wednesday.
She advised farmers in the country to continue taking care of their crops to mitigate the impact of factors such as the fall army worm that may affect production.