April 2, 2019 / 8:20 AM / 4 months ago

Malawi could lose 20 pct of maize crop in cyclone flooding - minister

A local farmer walks past a maize field in Chikwawa District, Malawi March 19, 2018. REUTERS/Eldson Chagara

LILONGWE (Reuters) - Flooding linked to Cyclone Idai, which lashed southeast Africa last month, could reduce Malawi’s staple maize crop by around 20 percent this farming season, Agriculture Minister Joseph Mwanamvekha said on Tuesday.

“The floods washed away 71,111 hectares, translating into about 639,999 metric tonnes of potential maize production in five agricultural development divisions, effectively reducing our projected yield for this year,” Mwanamvekha told Reuters.

Before the cyclone struck, Malawi had hoped to produce 3.3 million metric tonnes in the 2018/19 farming season.

Reporting by Mabvuto Banda; Writing by Alexander Winning; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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