Zambia farmers seek to export more wheat
Lusaka ‑ The private sector in Southern Africa’s leading wheat producer is seeking government consent to export excess stock to create space for the next harvest.
According to the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU), the country’s largest farming group, the Wheat Commodity Committee (WCC), is seeking government authorisation to export of 10 000 tonnes surplus wheat this year.
ZNFU’s spokesperson, Calvin Kaleyi, says during the 2012/13 farming season, the country produced 260 000 tonnes of wheat and seeks to increase production to 300 000 per annum because of increased demand in the SADC region and other African countries.
The WCC draws membership from the Zambia National Farmers Union, the Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) and the Grain Traders Association of Zambia (GTAZ).
According to Kaleyi, the country has 97 765 tonnes of wheat in stock, with an exportable surplus of about 20 000 metric tons from the 2012 season.
The stakeholders seek to only export 10 000 tonnes of wheat now and a further 10 000 tonnes later after reviewing the situation in November, as the new crop is yet to be harvested.
“The decision considered the fact that the new crop…would become available by October and the fact that fresh wheat sometimes cannot be milled immediately and also that the wheat industry has continued to grow,” Kaleyi explained.
At a recent meeting, the stakeholders also reviewed wheat flour export trends, which they agreed would continue normally despite difficulties encountered at border posts.
Kaleyi said in trying to control the export of maize and its products, wheat flour is sometimes mistaken for mealie-meal, hence the delays in clearance at the borders.
The stakeholders have since appealed to the government to facilitate wheat flour exports to regional markets efficiently, thereby encouraging more wheat production by Zambian farmers.
Zambia exported 20 792 tonnes of wheat flour, chiefly to SADC countries, between September 2012 and April 2013.