Zim mulls importing maize from SA
Harare- Zimbabwe stock feed manufacturers are considering importing maize from South Africa due to stiff competition for Zambian maize from other regional countries and beyond who are also grappling with shortage of the critical raw material in the production of animal feed, an official has said.
Zimbabwe is currently importing the bulk of its maize from its northern neighbour for both human consumption and raw materials for stock feed following a poor harvest in the 2014/15 cropping season.
To fill the gap, Zimbabwe will be importing about 300 000 tonnes of the commodity.
Livestock and Meat Advisory Council (LMAC) Chairperson Solomon Zawe said maize imports were trickling into Zimbabwe at an average price around US$290 per tonne.
“Importation from SA (South Africa) may be considered as there is competition for Zambian maize from Tanzania, Kenya, DRC and Malawi, but will only be considered after Zambian maize stocks have been exhausted,” Zawe said.
“Maize from Zambia is landing at an average of $290/mt and is expected to trade at about $290 – $320/mt for the foreseeable future. Discussions ensued over the importation of GMO maize for human consumption but not for animal feed.”
It is anticipated, Zawe said, that the local crop will run out by end of July and beginning of August. Retention of the commodity is high as an increase in price is anticipated. There is need to foster local production as a way to guarantee future supply.
The aim LMAC is to protect, promote and further the interests of those persons engaged in the livestock and meat industry in Zimbabwe and ensure the economic viability of the sector.
The council is made up of associations such as Stock Feed Manufacturers Association, Zimbabwe Poultry Association and Pig Producers Association of Zimbabwe.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization in Southern Africa, the early forecast of the aggregate 2015 maize production stands at about 21,1 million tonnes, 26 percent below the bumper output in 2014, and 15 percent lower than the average.
The bulk of the decline is mainly due to the significant drop in South Africa, the sub region’s main producer and exporter.
The UN agency noted that reduced cereal outputs are also forecast in most other countries of the sub region.
The decline is largely on account of erratic weather conditions, characterized by a late start of seasonal rains in November/December, flooding in parts in early 2015 and a severe dry spell during February and early March, a critical month for crop growth.
Late rains and floods that affected most parts of Southern Africa late last year and early this year have subdued the overall food security situation in the region, which has otherwise been impressive over the last few years.