Your views are important to us.
IRIN is currently reviewing its work and we need to understand your views and priorities.
ZAMBIA: Food aid deliveries "far below" needs
johannesburg, 28 November 2002 (IRIN) - Distribution of private and government relief food in Zambia has been very slow and, as the first drops of the rainy season fall, only half the expected fertiliser and maize seed deliveries have been completed, the latest Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) report said.
With up to 2.9 million people in the country relying on relief food until the next harvest due to two years of poor crops, analyst are watching the latest planting patterns carefully. FEWS NET found that land preparation was proceeding well and dry planting was occurring successfully, especially in areas where seed was readily available.
In areas where conservation farming was being practiced - a method used in the Southern and Eastern provinces which optimises moisture retention in the soil - farmers planted early and good germination had been observed.
However, of the 48,000 mt of fertiliser which the government planned to distribute to 120,000 smallholder farmers, only 26,000 mt had been delivered so far. In addition, the sowing rains had already fallen in most parts of the country and not less than half of the targeted maize seed deliveries have been made so far, the report said.
Generally, commercial supplies of staple foods were available on urban markets, and millers in Lusaka and the Copperbelt reported adequate maize stocks until the end of December. However, the expected 150,000 mt of private maize imports had not yet started, possibly because importers feared depressed prices following the government's recently stated intention to import 300,000 mt of maize for relief and commercial supply. Commercial farmers were also concerned about the affect of the imports on next year's prices.
The government's decision to ban genetically modified (GM) maize continued to hold up World Food Programme deliveries. General distribution of relief food, including government relief food, during the last month had been very slow, the report said.
FEWS NET noted the amount of relief distributed in the past month has been "far below what is required".
Health & Nutrition,
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]