ZAMBIA – Zambia’s sunflower production increased by a staggering 47% in the 2019/2020 farming season compared to the 2018/2019 farming season.
According to information by the Zambia’s statistics agency, Zamstats, sunflower production increased from 34,208 metric tonnes in the 2018/2019 farming season to 50,451 metric tonnes in the 2019/2020 farming season.
Despite the aggressive rise, Zambian Business Times notes that local production still does not meet the national demand.
“if local farmers are given the market information at the right time, they will be able to make good decisions concerning venturing into sunflower production.”Executive Director of National Union for Small Scale Farmers in Zambia (NUSFAZ) – Ebony Loloji
Sunflower demand has largely been driven by the demand of edible oils for both cooking and industrial oils use as well as stock feed.
Executive Director of National Union for Small Scale Farmers in Zambia (NUSFAZ) – Ebony Loloji, highlighted that edible oil manufacturers have the capacity to process in excess of 80,000 metric tonnes but production is less than this capacity.
In order for farmers to meet the demand, Loloji has indicated that they need to be educated on how to go about producing the crop and the market availability.
“if local farmers are given the market information at the right time, they will be able to make good decisions concerning venturing into sunflower production,” said Loloji.
Meanwhile, Soya beans production is expected to continue to surge upwards driven by similar forces as that of sunflower i.e., demand for edible oils and stock feed.
Soya beans production is projected to recorded a notable 6% growth in the current year rising to about 297,000 metric tonnes compared to 281,000 metric tonnes of the prior season.
Ministry of Agriculture Chief Field Crops Agronomist Nawa Malumo said the current production is still very low but some of the things that can be done to increase productivity include provision of extension services to farmers in order to improve on management and yield of the crop.
He added that other measures that value chain players such as seed companies can take to improve productivity include strengthening soyabeans breeding in order to provide higher yielding varieties to farmers.
Strengthening farmer cooperatives for easy acquisition of inputs and marketing and facilitating bulking centres in production centres especially in rural areas will boost the sector.
Malumo however noted that there is ready market available for soyabeans especially in peri urban areas, although farmers in rural areas still find challenges to market the commodity adding that currently, there are still few processing facilities in the country which restricts the market.
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