LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Malawi is expecting to have bumper harvest this year following preliminary crop estimates showing that  maize production is projected at 3,387,587 metric tons, representing 25.6 percent increase in production as compared to the 2017/18 final round estimates of 2,697,959 metric tons.

This increase in production is attributed to increase in yields due to favourable weather conditions and increase in inputs uptake by farmers.

Addressing the new conference on Tuesday morning, in the capital Lilongwe Minister of Agriculture Joseph Mwanamveka attributed the increase in maize production to increased number of beneficiaries, improved availability and accessibility of seed and fertilizer.

Mwanamveka lauded that the beneficiaries of FISP during the 2018/19 season increased by 11% as compared to 2017/18 season from 900,000 to 1,000,000 beneficiaries.

The minister added that the targeted beneficiaries in the 2018/2019 growing season had access to a total of 100,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer split halfway between NPK and Urea compared to 89380 metric tonnes of fertilizer and 4352 metric tonnes of cereals in the 2017/2018 growing season and 5,000 metric tonnes of cereal seed comprising of maize, rice and sorghum.

“The results also show that all Agricultural Development Divisions (ADDs) will experience an increase in maize and other crop production this season as compared to 2017/18 agricultural season. Among the ADDs, Shire Valley, Blantyre and Machinga ADDs are expected to have substantial increases of 99.8; 58.4 and 32.7 percent respectively.

“Rice production is expected to go up by 19.5 percent due to availability of seed, markets and water in wetlands. Furthermore, millet and sorghum productions are expected to increase by 53.9 and 60.6 percent respectively due favourable weather and seed availability”, says Mwanamveka.

 

Below is the full statement by Agriculture Minister Mwanamveka; 

 

PRESS BRIEFING by HON. JOSEPH MWANAMVEKHA, M.P., MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, IRRIGATION AND WATER DEVELOPMENT FIRST ROUND OF THE 2018/19 AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION ESTIMATES SURVEY

 

Ministry of Agriculture Conference Room February, 2019 2

  • Secretary for Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Mr. Gray Nyandule-Phiri;

 

  • The Controller of Agriculture Services, Dr Alexander Bulirani;
  • All Directors and Senior Officials in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, here present;
  • Members of the press;
  • Ladies and Gentlemen. ❖ Firstly, let me welcome you all to this briefing session on the 2018/19 agricultural production estimates.

 

❖ As you are all aware, the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development (MoAIWD) is mandated to conduct the Agricultural Production Estimates Survey (APES).

 

The survey covers all agricultural commodities, that is, crops, livestock and fisheries in the country.

3 ❖ The primary objective of the survey is to assess the country’s agricultural production to inform planning and policy direction for the economy.

 

❖ The information from the survey informs Government and its partners on how to deal with anticipated production surpluses when we have a good seasons or production deficits we have a bad years. In terms of the process.

The survey is conducted in three rounds every year;

 

First round:

❖ The first round is conducted from September of the preceding year to January of the current year.

❖ Results from the first round do not conclusively inform the ultimate agricultural production but are indicative enough in terms of projections for the expected production.

❖ The first round includes data collection for all livestock species as well as fisheries.

 

Second round

❖ The second round is conducted from February to March and focuses on verification and adjustment of area measurement of crops grown by the sampled agricultural households and results obtained are used to determine crop area for the season.

❖ Second round figures are the official estimates that are used to inform policy decisions on projected crop production in the country.

❖ The second round covers crops only

 

Third round

❖ The third round of the survey which is normally considered as the final round is conducted during the harvesting period which runs from April through to May.

❖ The third round mainly involves weighing of the harvest to obtain actual yield for crops based on the sampled households.

❖ This round includes collection of livestock data as well. This final round indicates what will be the food basket for the country and determines final deficits and or surplus too.

❖ Like the first round, the third round captures data for livestock as well as fisheries. Let me come back to the specific subject matter for today

❖ You may all agree with me that this agricultural season has been favorable for crop production.

❖ The season started on a very good note with most parts of the country receiving good rains which has enabled a good crop in maize and other crops. It is my hope that this continues for the country to achieve a surplus maize and other products this season.

❖ Members of the press, ladies and gentlemen, cumulative rainfall patterns from November 2018 to January 2019 show that most parts of Malawi received normal seasonal rainfall.

❖ According to the weather experts, most areas in Malawi received between 400-800mm, representing average to above average rainfall amounts.

❖ According to the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services (DCCMS) Malawi is likely to continue experiencing a good rainfall pattern from February to April 2019. Government’s initiatives to improve crop production

❖ Members of the Press, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Government under the dynamic and visionary leadership of His Excellency, the State President, Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika has this season implemented a number of initiatives aimed at improving crop production in the country.

❖ Some of the initiatives include;

1. Farm Input Subsidy Programme: The Ministry has successfully implemented the 2018/19 Farm Input Subsidy Program that targeted 1,000,000 beneficiaries an increase from 900,000 farmers last season. Efficient implementation of FISP this year saw beneficiaries receiving farm inputs earlier which enabled them take advantage of the good rains by planting their early.

2. Promotion of legume production: The Ministry procured and distributed certified legume seed to farmers targeting 3,900 hectares as one way of promoting legume production in the country.

3. Fall armyworm management: The Ministry instituted measures to deal with the pest. Over 25,000 litres of pesticides were acquired for distribution to all the districts in the country and there was a carry-over stock of 9,000 litres. In total therefore we were equipped with 34,000 litres of pesticides to be used this season. At the moment the Ministry has over 15,000 litres of pesticides in the warehouse.

4. Drought recovery and resilience programme: The programme aims at increasing production of sorghum and millet in the drought prone districts. The initiative procured and distributed sorghum and millet seeds in 18 districts of the country.

❖ These initiatives coupled with favorable weather conditions contributed positively to the physiological development of the crops in almost all parts of the country. Consequently our first round crop forecast shows that majority of the crops will register an increase in production. Results of the first round forecasting

❖ Members of the Press, Ladies and Gentlemen, the results of the first round indicate that maize production is projected at 3,387,587 metric tons, representing 25.6 percent increase in production as compared to the 2017/18 final round estimates of 2,697,959 metric tons.

9 ❖ This increase in production is attributed to increase in yields due to favourable weather conditions and increase in inputs uptake by farmers.

❖ FISP has significantly contributed to the increase in maize production this season due to increased number of beneficiaries, improved availability and accessibility of seed and fertilizer.

❖ I am also pleased to inform you that beneficiaries of FISP during the 2018/19 season increased by 11% as compared to 2017/18 season from 900,000 to 1,000,000 beneficiaries.

❖ Furthermore, the targeted beneficiaries in the 2018/2019 growing season had access to a total of 100,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer split halfway between NPK and Urea compared to 89380 metric tonnes of fertilizer and 4352 metric tonnes of cereals in the 2017/2018 growing season and 5,000 metric tonnes of cereal seed comprising of maize, rice and sorghum.

10 ❖ The results also show that all Agricultural Development Divisions (ADDs) will experience an increase in maize and other crop production this season as compared to 2017/18 agricultural season.

❖ Among the ADDs, Shire Valley, Blantyre and Machinga ADDs are expected to have substantial increases of 99.8; 58.4 and 32.7 percent respectively.

❖ Rice production is expected to go up by 19.5 percent due to availability of seed, markets and water in wetlands.

❖ Furthermore, millet and sorghum productions are expected to increase by 53.9 and 60.6 percent respectively due favourable weather and seed availability.

❖ Ladies and Gentlemen, production of groundnuts, soya beans, pigeon peas and beans are estimated to increase by 15.6, 20.7, 0.9 and 28.9 percent respectively mainly due to seed availability and favourable weather. 11

❖ The FISP programme injected 2,000 metric tonnes of legume seed, comprising of beans, soya beans, groundnuts, cowpeas and pigeon peas, which has resulted into increased production of legumes. This is in line with what the Ministry’s enhanced promotion of crop diversification among farmers hence more of them producing legumes.

❖ Cotton production is expected to increase by 35.3 percent due to seed availability, favourable weather and good market arrangements.

❖ Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to inform you that the Cotton Council injected 600 metric tons of seed this season.

❖ Results for horticultural crops indicate that production of cassava, sweet potatoes and potatoes are expected to increase by 14.7, 18.0 and 12.4 percent respectively due to availability of planting materials and favourable weather.

12 ❖ The distribution of planting materials for cassava and sweet potatoes to farmers, which the Ministry conducted during the 2017/18 season, increased the availability of planting materials during this season hence the increase in production of roots and tubers.

❖ Production for oranges, pineapples, avocado pears and bananas will register increases of 189.4, 25.0, 16.0 and 11.4 percent respectively as compared to the final round of 2017/18. However, production for mangoes and tomatoes will go down by 24.3 and 0.4 percent respectively

❖ In terms of livestock, data collected for all livestock species indicates that population of cattle has increased from 1,655,389 to 1,730,605 representing a 4.5 percent increase as compared to the final round of 2017/18.

❖ Populations for goats, sheep, pigs and chickens have also increased by 6.9, 1.8, 14.7and 10.0 percent respectively.

13 ❖ Increases in livestock production are attributed to increases in births as a result of improved management practices which include good housing, feeding, breeding, and disease control.

❖ Overall National fish production from both capture fisheries and aquaculture has increased from 216,347 metric tons to 230,863 metric tons as compared to 2017/2018 season, representing 6.7 percent increase in production buoyed by a significant increase in the capture fisheries.

❖ However, aquaculture fish production for both large scale and small scale have registered a decline of 36.7 and 14.0 percent respectively as compared to 2017/18 season due to severe water stress and inconsistent fish harvests from cages Conclusion

❖ In conclusion I wish to inform you all and indeed the general public that the Government of Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika will do all it can to assist those that might be affected by hunger in one way or the 14 other, during the course of the season to ensure, as per his promise, that NO Malawian dies of hunger as long as he remains President of this country.

❖ My Ministry together with the relevant partners will continue to monitor the situation on the ground to inform policy direction as the season advances.

The results of the second round estimates will be released in the first week of April, 2019. I thank you all for your kind attention! May God Bless Us All!!!

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