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Zambia’s maize crop grew by roughly 48% between the 2009 and 2010 harvests, leading to the largest crop recorded in recent history. The 2009 maize harvest was also very good, making the 48% rise in 2010 even more remarkable. The forces driving that increase, however, remain widely debated. Many in government and media have attributed the recent production increase to the government’s fertilizer subsidy program as well as to the state’s recent efforts to raise maize prices through the operations of the Food Reserve Agency. Others have argued that the bumper harvest is partially due to the adoption of conservation farming techniques by farmers. Still others attribute the maize production growth mainly to favorable weather. Unfortunately, none of these claims have been backed up by solid evidence-based research.


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