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May 11, 2008

Low soya output to increase Zambian stockfeed prices

The reduction in soya bean production for the 2007/2008 will have a negative impact on the livestock industry because prices of imported stock feed will increase substantially, Zambia National Farmers Union(ZNFU) executive director, Songowayo Zyambo, has said.

Mr Zyambo said Zambia’s soya bean requirement was between 70,000 and 80,000 tonnes but the fact that only 56,839 tonnes had been produced was bad news for the livestock industry which would be subjected to import soya cake which was landed at $800 per tonne.

Mr Zyambo said the situation had been exacerbated by the fact that the southern African region as a whole does not have enough soya bean or soya cake and had to look outside the region for the commodities. “This has resulted in high stock feed prices which the industry is failing to absolve, in the last two years farmers have been moving away from soya bean production because of sub-economic prices,” he said.

He said the average yield for maize for the 2007/2008 season at 1.31 tonnes per hectare was too low. Zyambo said there was need for farmers to adopt conservation farming in order to be more productive.

“As you know small-scale farmers practicing conservation farming have produced as high as five tonnes of maize per hectare even in drought years,” he said.

Although the union has been promoting productive farming practice through the Conservation Farming Unit and the Golden Valley Agricultural Research Trust (GART), more concerted efforts were needed.

Mr Zyambo also commended the ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives for the timely release of the crop production figures.
Agriculture and Cooperative Minister, Sarah Sayifwanda, announced that the country had recorded a crop reduction of 40.6 per cent in the 2007/2008 farming season due to the devastating floods that affected most parts of the country.

Times of Zambia

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