Zambia is likely to increase its maize production by more than 30% by 2025, from the current 3m t to over 4m t.
This was included in a recent outlook on the maize market by the Indaba Agricultural Research Institute (IAPRI).
IAPRI indicates that the projected growth in maize production in Zambia will mainly be driven by yield increases rather than growth in the area planted under maize.
Given the assumption of favorable weather patterns, maize productivity is expected to increase as a result of adopting improved technology by farmers such as use of improved seed and fertilizers.
The increased production will be enough to meet Zambia’s domestic maize requirements while exporting the surplus production.
Zambia’s domestic maize consumption was about 2.3m t in 2015 and is likely to rise to about 3.3m t by 2025 due to growth in the Zambian population and rise in their per capita income.
As a result, domestic maize demand both for food use and livestock will likely increase as protein diets become more demanded by Zambian communities.
Stress Tolerant Maize for Africa: Zambia
Zambia is among the 12 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa expected to benefit from a recently launched Stress Tolerant Maize for Africa (STMA) project that will develop improved maize varieties with resistance to drought and diseases affecting maize production.
The project will improve maize production by 30–50% for over 5m smallholder farmer households by the end of 2019 in the targeted beneficiary countries.
To achieve this, the project will apply conventional breeding techniques to develop maize varieties and hybrids capable of resisting environmental shocks, including drought, low soil fertility, heat, pests and disease.
Currently (2016), 98% of the 1.5m smallholder households in Zambia cultivate maize, which occupies 54% of the 1.4m hectares of land under crop production.
In addition, Zambia spends over 60% of the annual public expenditure on agriculture on maize input and output subsidies. However, in another report, IAPRI notes that the Zambian Ministry of Agriculture should promote crop diversification.