LUSAKA, Apr. 8 - Petauke district commissioner George Zulu has banned any further exports of maize to neigbouring Malawi to minimise the effects of drought on the food situation in the district.
Speaking at a meeting with a team of national technical committee experts monitoring the food security pack, Mr Zulu said the district would not export the remaining 4,000 tonnes of maize to boost food security.
"We had a tender to export maize to Malawi but in view of the drought, we have stopped all maize exports and as of now, we think about 4,000 tonnes of maize is till lying around our sheds in Petauke," he said.
He appealed to people in the district to remain calm as he consulted over how the maize could be used to help vulnerable families.
Mr Zulu said though Petauke might need food relief because all the maize crop planted after November 20, 2023 had failed, the district, which was expecting to record a 60 per cent harvest, might even be able to send relief supplies to other districts that were worst affected by the crop failure in Eastern Province.
Mr Zulu lamented that most rivers, wells and water holes had dried up in Chief Mwanjabantu's area and in Chikola prompting people to walk long distances into Mozambique to fetch for water.
Animals were the worst affected by the water shortage.
He appealed to the Government to send experts to drill boreholes in the area in order to ease the problem.
District disaster management committee (DDMC) member Kosam Zulu informed the visiting delegation that people from 20 villages in Chalaba had opted to cultivate fields in neighbouring Mozambique owing to acidity of the soil in their villages.
Programme Against Malnutrition (PAM) executive director Drina Nyirenda called for serious strategies in harnessing better farming methods in the district.
Dr Nyirenda regretted that other than the drought that affected Petauke, poor marketing that characterised the bumper harvest of the 2003/2004 farming season frustrated many peasant farmers who grew maize.