Paya Farmer: Chavuma farmers say won’t afford fertiliser, feminine sure
Farmers in Chavuma say they will not produce enough maize this year as a result because the fertiliser is too expensive.
Speaking on behalf of other farmers, Richard Kanyimbwa, said most farmers in the district won’t afford to buy fertiliser at the newly introduced higher prices.
Mr Kanyimbwa said the move to increase the cost of fertiliser has caught the farmers by surprise.
He said as a result most farmers in the district will not afford fertiliser, adding that the anticipated reduced maize growing activities in Chavuma will affect the food security in the district.
He appealed to government to give a reprieve to the farming community for this year’s farming by reverting to the old price of K50 farmers have been paying on a bag of fertiliser to enable them prepare for the adjusted price in the 2014-2015 farming season.
And Mr Kanyimbwa said suggestions that farmers should diversify their production to crops like cassava are welcome.
But the emerging farmer observed that a shift to cassava production would face implications such as a high cost of liming the soil, demand for more cultivated land and poor market for the crop.
The farmer said cassava cannot do well if grown direct on the same land that was being used for maize production because the soil had become acidic due to heavy use of fertiliser on maize.
He further noted that food security may be affected because a lima of cassava produces less than maize grown on the same size of land, hence the need for farmers to acquire more land to grow cassava.
Mr Kanyimbwa also mentioned that it would not be feasible to fight hunger by encouraging people to grow cassava because the available varieties of the crop take over one year to mature while the market for the crop is still underdeveloped in the country.