Zambia will for the first time this year face a rice deficit of 15,000 tonnes against the national requirements of more than 62,000 tonnes due to poor yields, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) report has revealed.
According to the latest JICA report, Zambia’s national rice requirements stands at 62,484 tonnes while this year’s production capacity was far less than the required figure at 47,484, leaving a deficit of 15,000 tonnes.
The report stated that for the farmers to improve yields there was need for the country to invest in research and extension systems for the promotion of crop diversification with emphasis on rice production.
“Zambia has a lot of potential in terms of rice production, looking at the number of dambos the country has and what is needed for the country is to promote diversification especially that rice is both a staple food crop as well as cash crop,” the JICA reported said.
JICA last year also launched a project dubbed Technical Cooperation Project on Community-Based Smallholder Irrigation (T-COBSI) whose aim was to enhance food security in Zambia by promoting irrigation schemes in order to raise the yields for rice.
The project’s targetted areas are the Districts in Northern, Luapula and Muchinga Provinces where, the pilot projects for T-COBSI study were implemented.
The report said in the T-COBSI study, a total of 572 hectares, 576 of irrigation sites ,420 kilometres of canals, have been developed with more than 7,200 beneficiary farmers.
The farmers recorded a net profit of more than K1,600 while the accumulated net profit in the 572 hectares, was K4.1 million per year.