Malawi’s maize harvest decline by 19%-minister
London, May 21, 2018 (AltAfrika)-Malawi’s maize output declined by 19.4 percent in the 2017/18 farming year to 2.8 million tons due to damage caused by drought and crop-eating armyworms.
According to the Agriculture Minister Joseph Mwanavekha, the decline is been attributed to unstable weather conditions in some parts of the country
“This (decline) is because of dry spells experienced in some parts of the country and the armyworm invasion,” Mwanavekha told Reuters. Malawi produced 3.5 million tons of maize in the 2016/17 season.
A worsening pest infestation has been threatening Malawi’s staple maize crop for the second year running, leaving farmers struggling to salvage crops already faltering due to drought.
The outbreak of crop-munching fall armyworms, a pest from Latin America first threatened African crops late in 2016.
Maize is Malawi’s staple crop. Armyworms are a pest from Latin America that first threatened African crops late in 2016.
Malawi’s maize production in the 2016/17 farming season stood at 3.2 million tonnes.
Impoverished Malawi is periodically hit by food shortages as it relies heavily on rain-fed agriculture and most of its maize is grown on small plots by subsistence farmers.