MAJOR CONSTRAINTS OF WHEAT PRODUCTION IN AFRICA -                              A CASE STUDY OF ZAMBIA                     ...
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Major constraints of wheat production in Africa - A case study of Zambia


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By Lutangu Makweti*, Tembo Michael, Sydney Mututa, Kelvin Simpasa
*Corresponding author:

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Major constraints of wheat production in Africa - A case study of Zambia

  1. 1. MAJOR CONSTRAINTS OF WHEAT PRODUCTION IN AFRICA - A CASE STUDY OF ZAMBIA Lutangu Makweti*, Tembo Michael, Sydney Mututa, Kelvin Simpasa Research & Production Department, Seed Co Zambia Ltd, Farm 683/RE, Mumbwa Road, Box 35310, Lusaka, Zambia. makwetij@gmail.comINTRODUCTION 2500 Agriculture remains the priority sector in achieving sustainable economic growth and reducing poverty in Zambia. The growth of this sector is important for the attainment of the long-term vision for Zambia which is 2000 Variable Cost per Ha in to become “a prosperous middle income nation by 2030”. Wheat is an important emerging cereal crop in (US$) by Level of Zambia where production and yields have steadily increased over the past 10 years. Wheat production is Management Low Level 1500 concentrated in the four provinces namely Central, Copperbelt, Lusaka and Southern. The Central province is the largest producing province with Mkushi contributing the largest production and Variable Cost per Ha in 1000 (US$) by Level of has great potential for expansion. Despite its good natural resources and good wheat yields of 6.2t/ha, Management Medium Level Zambia imports about 5,000 tonnes. Of the 5.88 million hectares of agricultural land, wheat cultivation 500 takes up only about 0.0064%. According to the 2010/2011 crop survey done by the Central Statistics Variable Cost per Ha in Office in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives ; wheat production reached 237,336 (US$) by Level of 0 Management High Level tonnes and the estimated national consumption was of 221,020 tonnes . Despite these achievements , the subsector is still characterised by a high cost structure arising from high production input costs such as fertiliser (33-40% of variable costs), irrigation (7-23% of variable costs), finance (6-13% of variable costs), fuels and oils (5-7% of variable costs) , seed (3-11% of variable costs) and transportation (7-8% of variable costs).PURPOSE OF THE STUDYThe objective of the study was to assess the wheat production levels and trends in Zambia and also providean in depth analysis of the key issues and challenges faced by the wheat sector with a view to assist in the MEASURES TO IMPROVE WHEAT SECTORformulation of favourable sector policies and strategies to promote long term growth of the sector. To achieve the production targets, the agriculture stakeholders propose the following measures:OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY TAXATION MEASURES I. Zero rate wheat, wheat flour and bread - Most imported wheat and wheat products are subsidized  Identify major challenges in wheat production which makes the locally produced wheat uncompetitive.  Contribute to the formulation of favourable policies and strategies that will help promote long term growth  The VAT zero-rating of wheat, flour and bread will result in a decline in the price of these products and of the wheat sector stimulate demand especially among the majority of the population falling in the low income groups and  Contribute to the adoption of new technologies toward the enhancement of wheat production in Zambia would lead to increased local production. and the region II. Zero rate simple agriculture equipment - To ensure access to inputs and equipment at a reduced cost all the inputs and equipment should be at VAT zero rated including import taxes.  Zero rating items like sprayers, harvesters, other machinery intended for cleaning, shelling, sorting, or grad- ing seed or grain would have an immediate positive impact on the production costs and on the final con-METHODS & MATERIALS sumer price of wheat. Study Design  Non-experimental design INVESTMENT IN INFRASTRUCTURE  Qualitative & Quantitative Methods I. Road Network-Government should give priority to rehabilitation of roads in existing farming areas. Sampling Methods  Purposive Sampling:  The road levy which is imposed on diesel, which is widely used on farms, should be directed towards feeder  20 Commercial farmers, 5 from each of the producing roads so that farmers become linked to markets. This measure alone would have a significant impact on im- provinces proving producer prices paid to farmers by private buyers. . Method of Data Collection  Questionnaires II. Rehabilitation of the railway network– reduce transport costs and ease pressure on trunk road usage  Policy Review and Observation which would increase the lifetime of the road network.  This action would improving the competitiveness of exports by reducing transport costs Research Instruments  Structured questionnaires  Movement of agricultural products from surplus producing regions to deficit areas or into export markets  Interview schedules could be handled more efficiently and ease agriculture marketing than at the current situation. Analysis Methods  Quantitative: MS Excel III. Grain storage facilities-Expenditure on rehabilitation of storage facilities and investment in new storage  Quantitative: Thematic Analysis - Classification sheds should be on the priority list.  Cut down on losses and encourage farmers to defer some of the sale transactions. Table 1: Summary of Research Methodology  Public Private Partnership (PPP) infrastructure development for marketing and storage should also be en- couraged so that storage infrastructure is put in place at a reduced cost.RESULTS IV. Research and Extension- Improving farmers’ access to new production technologies  Raise awareness on new release of high yielding wheat varieties resistant to major diseases (leaf rust, Helminthosporium spp., Fusarium spp., and Alternaria triticina)  Allocate funding to research and development in the agriculture sector as this will play a significant role in the diversification process. V. Financing: credits/loans– Bank of Zambia (Government managed bank) should consider reducing its operational cost .  Borrowing rates and banking costs must be lowered. this will consequently result in reduced commercial banking lending rates. VI. Re Capitalization of Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia Fertilizer plant- This used to be the source of af fordable fertilizer to Zambian farmers. but now, the plant cannot produce because of limited finances needed to buy the raw materials and pay the workers.CHALLENGES IN WHEAT PRODUCTION1. Cost of Production: Wheat yields in Zambia are relatively high but the cost of production is high com- pared to other regions, making it difficult to sale and compete on a regional level. On average, it costs about U$ 1,800 /ha to cultivate wheat.2. Suitable Varieties - Lack of high yielding disease resistant wheat varieties for rainfed areas.3. Prices Variations - Due to high cost of production, local market prices are higher than those at the inter- national market IMPLICATIONS OF THE STUDY4. Infrastructure - Lack of proper road network within the farming areas (Farmers have to maintain most of  Identification of the major challenge that ranked highest among the interviewed farmers which was the cost the roads), lack of well distributed grain storage sheds & Dams. Currently farmers receive discounted pro- of production and the competitiveness of the crop on the international market. ducer prices because they are distantly located from markets and the buyers are limited by the poor infra-  Access to markets, non availability of high yielding disease resistant varieties that can be grown under structure. rainfed conditions.  Inconsistent government policies contributed in affecting the wheat sector. These policies include low budget5. Finance - The interest rates on agriculture loans are very high. Range of 10-12% for a US$ loan and allocations to research especially wheat research and VAT, import and export taxes. about 14% for a Zambian Kwacha loan. These have a maximum repayment of 5 to 7 years.  Recommended measure to improve wheat sector if implemented will effectively contribute to6. Socio-economic considerations and government policies -  Reduced costs of production and this will encourage more farmers especially small scale farmers to take  Government in 2012 announced the re introduction of grain levie which is likely to push the cost of pro- up wheat farming. duction upwards. High Value Added Tax on products is another example.  Enhanced breeding of wheat varieties for rainfed areas that are high yielding and disease resistant.  The Food Reserve Agency (FRA), which is state owned and responsible for ensuring food security in the Farmers will be encouraged to grow wheat during rainy season, (no need for irrigation) reduced cost. nation only buys maize from farmers and not wheat.  Supporting Zambian government strategy to encourage crop diversification as a way of ensuring that  Commercial farmers do not benefit from subsidies. the agriculture sector is not dependent on maize only but on other crops such as wheat.  Increase in minimum wage for workers, by more than 50% , increased the cost of production  Proposed further studies on the small scale farmers’ scale than commercial farmers to determine their  The Value Added Tax (VAT) of 16 % is very high and farmers are not exempted. Only farmers buying interest in growing other crops like wheat. equipment between 50 to 100 horse power (Hp) are exempted from paying VAT. Equipment above  Policy formulation that encourage farmers in the wheat sector. 100hp is taxed .  Non availability of well structured Agriculture training schemes where farmers can be trained on how to grow different crops like wheat. Many small scale farmers think wheat production is not for them. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS  There has been insufficient funds allocated by the government toward wheat research. I would like to thank Sydney Mututa, Kelvin Simpasa and Michael Tembo who helped in the data collection and organising farmer interviews.  Wheat is considered as a minor crop despite high imports Special thanks go to SeedCo management for the use of company resources to conduct this research. I am thankful to the Head of Research, Herbert Masole who was very helpful and encouraged me to write this paper. Others include Dr Amor Yahyaoui, Dr Ana Pontaroli, Dr Tom Payne, Elastus Mambwe, Jr. and Juunza Lwi- indi who helped in editing my abstract and poster. Glory to God for the great things He has done in my life. A very special thank you to Mayamiko Banda, my family and friends for all the support. REFERENCES A.R Klatt (1987), Wheat Production Constraints in the Tropical Environments-A Proceedings of the International Conference January 19-23, 1987 Chiang Mai. Thailand. Wheat Value Chain Final Report (2011), Meas Consultancy and training service Ltd, Commissioned by Agriculture Consultative forum., Lu- saka Zambia. Zambian National Farmers Union (ZNFU) http//