By Joseph Chikalipo
Second round of the 2018/19 Agricultural Production Estimates Survey (APES) has predicted that wheat and cotton production in the 2018/19 agricultural season will down slope than before.
APES which is conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation and Water Development every year to assess production and productivity on crops, livestock and fisheries, has suggested that wheat and cotton production has been declining over the years and will further go down this year.
Speaking in a Press Conference at the Capital Hill in Lilongwe, the Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Irrigation and Water Development, Joseph Mwanamvekha said over the years wheat production has been going down because it is a winter crop as such it depends on irrigation making it expensive to grow, hence, exported wheat is cheaper than locally grown.
“Unlike other years, this time wheat is expected to marginally decline by 2.06 per cent due to seed unavailability and lack of better markets,” he said.
Mwanamvekha pointed out that cotton production would decline especially in areas where they have been hit by heavy rainfall despite the government injecting about 600 metric tonnes of cotton and pesticides to boost production.
‘This year some parts of Malawi especially Mangochi and lower shire have been affected by heavy rainfall which has ensued into floods. As such, this has had a negative impact on cotton production,” he said.
The Minister said to improve wheat production in the coming years, government is planning on intensifying irrigation in areas where wheat is grown so that the country should stop relying on exporting from other countries.-MANA