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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 September, 2004, 10:05 GMT 11:05 UK
Hungry Zambians reap bumper crop
Generic crops
Two years ago many Zambians had virtually nothing to eat
After years of drought, Zambia has produced so much maize it is exporting its surplus to its neighbours.

The country experienced one of its worst-ever harvests in 2002, which left almost half the Zambian population short of food.

But this year 70,000 metric tons have already been exported to Malawi, said the deputy agriculture minister.

He attributed the exceptional harvest to good rains and government aid for small-scale farmers.

Contingency plans

The only country in southern Africa to produce a grain surplus this year, it also plans exports to Angola, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe, Zambia's Food Reserve Agency says.

If we invest in irrigation there should be no problem in producing enough
Chance Kabaghe
Deputy Agriculture Minister
But some of the projected surplus of between 200,000 to 300,000 tons will be kept in reserve.

"Part of the surplus we are going to keep in our reserves just in case there are calamities in future," Deputy Agriculture Minister Chance Kabaghe told the BBC's Network Africa programme.

The minister also that a task force had been set up to investigate ways to improve irrigation, so farmers were less reliant on rains.

"This country has a lot of underground and surface water so if we invest in irrigation there should be no problem in producing enough and supporting our colleagues within the region," he said.




SEE ALSO:
Food aid hits Zambian farmers
13 Jun 03  |  Africa
Zambians 'desperate' for help
24 Dec 02  |  Africa


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