Zambia lifts ban on maize exports

 

Lusaka – Zambia has lifted a moratorium on exports of all corn and maize-related products introduced for food security reasons, a move that is set to benefit many Southern African Development Community (SADC) members in need of food.

Agriculture and Livestock Minister, Wylbur Simuusa, says the lifting of the ban on maize exports would create storage space for this year’s harvest.

The government has started issuing maize export permits to interested exporters following the issuance of statutory instrument (SI) No. 35 of 2014, according to the minister.

Under the SI, exporters are required to specify the exact volume of maize, the source of the maize to be exported and the export destination of the maize, among other things.

Minister Simuusa has called on maize exporters interested to ensure they get a permit or risk being arrested if they are found exporting without a permit.

“The ban on export of maize was lifted a week ago when I signed the SI,” he says, adding that it is the government’s desire that the opening of maize exports does not result in increased mealie-meal prices and other grain products in Zambia where 50kg of mealie-meal costs about US$10.

Government is aware that the lifting of the ban on exports of maize will bring in much-needed foreign exchange in the country.

Zambia has vast opportunities for export markets but government wanted to ensure the country has enough maize stock before considering lifting the ban.

The minister says government has put national food security as top priority and has been working at ensuring the country has enough stock to sustain the country before the new harvest starts.

Meanwhile, the Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ), Zambia’s main supplier of the feritilisers, both basal and top dressings has so far produced close to 10 000 tonnes of Compound D fertiliser for this year’s farming season.

The minister says the plant has stocked enough raw materials needed for production of fertilisers.

He says out of over 100 000 tonnes which NCZ is expected to produce, it has so far manufactured close to 10 000 tonnes of Compound D fertiliser.

“They have produced between 6 000 and 10 000 tonnes of Compound D fertiliser. They are supposed to produce 103 000 tonnes between now and August,” he says.

Minister Simuusa has assured farmers prompt distribution of farming inputs and that government would address challenges faced in the past.

“We are all geared to make sure that fertiliser is in place in good time. We are starting early, within this month we are starting the distribution of the fertiliser,” he says. It is forecast that all farming inputs will be delivered to farmers by the end of August.

Recently Zimbabwe and Namibia, among other countries, have sought Zambia’s maize following droughts that affected most of the SADC countries, hence affected their national food security.

May 2014
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