Second round crop estimates show a minimal drop in maize production in Blantyre.
Revealing this in an interview on Friday, Blantyre District Agriculture Development Officer (Dado) Linda Mphande said the district has experienced a seven percent drop from the first round estimates.
The first round crop estimates projected maize production at 95 683 metric tonnes, an increase of 81 percent over 2016 third round estimates which were at 52 799 metric tonnes.
However, the figures have dropped in the second round to 91 852 metric tonnes putting the increase in production to 74 percent as compared to last year third round estimates.
Mphande attributed the decrease to drought and an outbreak of false army worms in some parts of the district.
“We had hopes that this year the maize harvest would be much better than last year but the three weeks of drought we experienced in January and the outbreak of false army worms have affected production. But all in all there is a bit of improvement as compared to last year’s production,” she said.
Chairperson of Blantyre District Council, Tawanda Tambula encouraged farmers in the district to practice modern farming technologies to ensure bumper harvests.
“If farmers follow new farming methods such as conservation agriculture, production will surely not be affected by challenges such as drought as such methods help to keep moisture in the soil,” he said.
Amini Njangaza, one of the lead farmers in the district, encouraged fellow farmers to plant drought resistant crops such as sweet potatoes to ensure food sufficiency when disasters such as drought strikes.