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Food Prices on the Rise, Alternative Crops Could be the Answer

Lower harvests of maize, wheat and sugarcane as a result of severe weather in the region are pushing up prices for Zambia's staple foods, according to the country's Ministry of Agriculture.

The Zambia National Farmers Union said erratic weather, including late rains at the start of the season, drought in many areas and heavy flooding in some parts of the country, have all hit food production.

"Most of the farm inputs (such as seeds and chemicals) in this country are imported. That, combined with drought conditions, is pushing the cost of staples high," Kingsley Kaswende, a researcher for the union, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview.

Wilson Smith

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