Fellow citizens, social media has recently been flooded with images of vast maize fields withering due to insufficient rainfall across the country. This poses a serious setback for us farmers, given the high cost of production we have been battling with this farming season. It is also a huge loss on the government’s side that invested billions of dollars through FISP and loans to farmers.Moreover, this situation, which has already devastated thousands of hectares of white maize across the country, signals a threat to national food security this year, as even if the rains return, some of the maize may not survive.


For years, I have advocated for a shift away from relying solely on rain-fed maize and other crops towards irrigation. Late last year, I shared an article here, and while some criticized me for warning about possible drought, it’s important to remember that human activities such as population growth and mining have disrupted natural patterns causing unpredictable weather situations.

Arguing from the development perspective, development requires contingency plans. Planning for unforeseen circumstances is essential in any project especially on matters that surrounds our staple food.

As things stand, I am uncertain about the Ministry of Agriculture’s response to this damage. If it were up to me, the government would urgently allocate resources and identify potential farmers with land and water resources across the country, like myself, to provide them with commercial farming equipment such as center pivots and tractors on flexible loan terms. Alternatively, entering into a memorandum of understanding with the government, facilitated by the Ministry of Agriculture, could involve the farmer(s) supplying maize to the government at a reasonable price until the loan is repaid. Decentralizing this approach could bolster food security, which is likely to be threatened on a national scale due to the extensive damage to maize crops.

The other urgent need from the government would be electricity and the drilling of commercial boreholes, contingent upon us, the beneficiary farmers, assisting the government in mitigating the problems. These they should all be tied to securing food for the country and if a beneficiary is found selling the food to black market, serious punishment such as imprisonment and fines should be imposed. Additionally, under such a scheme, the government can designate each farmer to grow a certain type of food so that we can balance the nutrition. We should not wait for another disastrous 1995 were we ended up importing yellow maize meant for animals from America which had alot of GMO. Let us think ahead please.

I have shared these views several times with the Ministry of Agriculture and I pray that one day they will see sense in this cry and try this approach even with five farmers and see how it can do.

As things stand, I have not yet been affected because all my portions of maize about 65 hectares are surviving and I am hopeful for more stable rains in the next few weeks though I don’t know how the end will be. However, the plight of fellow farmers is also my concern. This is how some of us are more than willing to aid the government in ensuring food security

If we continue to ignore climate change issues, we may face entire years without rainfall, and failure to implement policies such as irrigation will exacerbate economic troubles beyond what we are currently experiencing.

In my case, if provided with such equipment, I am confident that I could maximize winter maize production on 500 hectares of land in my district throughout the year. Imagine if the government supported 100 farmers per district – together, we could address these challenges effectively.



  1. Too much politicking in Zambia, instead of always being critical can people propose solutions within the parameters of an economy.criticsim is easy, hiw does an economically restrained government providebthe funding for proposals like yours,,, a county’s economy is no different to sa household budget, live within your means,

  2. Meanwhile, in his warped wisdom, he has sold all our maize reserves to DRC.

    I think calling him under 5 is truly flattering him. Truth be told, he is under 1.

  3. Irrigation is dependent on water which comes from rainfall. If there’s no rainfall you cannot have massive irrigation for growing maize because even groundwater diminishes and bore holes and dams dry up. Irrigation is only short term, maybe only for one season if the rains fail in that season. Even electricity, if it is hydro generated, for pumping water to drive Centre Pivots for irrigation also finishes. These factors are all interconnected and interrelated with a common Threat: Rainfall or lack of it.

  4. Its the first I hear someone underestimating the abundance of underground water and overlooking commercial solar. Dont think simpo brother Sitali.

    • At what cost and who can afford extraction of this abundance of groundwater and commercial solar? The ultimate price of the end product (bag of maize) produced from this high production cost would be unaffordable to an average Zambian. That is the point I am also trying to derive at Sir. Issue is not that simplist. It is like the simplistic narrative that some people push that we are a rich country endowed with minerals underground. Why are we then not mining such minerals and selling them so that all of us “live happily thereafter”?

  5. Zambia is like one of the 5 foolish virgins in Messiah’s parable of the 10 virgins. The foolish ones did not have spare oil for their lamps. We don’t plan ahead! We can’t boast of 7 to 10 years of food reserves. When we get crop failure, it’s always a Disaster!
    Countries like Israel and Egypt are desert countries and yet when it comes to Agriculture production, they beat us many times over!
    Zambia with all the abundance in water resources is failing lamentably to thrive!
    The reason is simple!
    We talk too much and spend very little time thinking!
    We are creatures of old habits who don’t want to adapt to new changes in weather patterns, hence we risk getting extinct!
    How many times have experts advised Ministry of Agriculture to move away from over-reliance on rain-fed Agriculture and adopt irrigation farming to enable our farmers do farming all year round?
    Anyway, best to implement these measures at individual level like we have done than waiting for clueless Mtolo to guide on anything sensible!
    At least we have all our crops under irrigation so this dry spell is not one of our biggest worries!
    We need to learn to read the times and plan wisely!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here