Zambia exports 80,000 mt maize
GOVERNMENT has continued to receive maize export orders from neighbouring countries with over 80,000 metric tonnes already exported to Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Malawi, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and World Food Programme have expressed interest in importing maize from Zambia, which produced over 2.53 million in 2012/13.
Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Robert Sichinga said over 14,000 tonnes have been exported to Zimbabwe, which requires 150,000tonnes of maize while 60,000 tonnes were distributed to Tanzania.
“We also had a requirement from Malawi with 130,000 tonnes, which we expect to export in December. World Food Programme had a requirement of 100,000 metric tonnes as well,” he said.
Mr Sichinga said in an interview on Wednesday in Kabwe.
Burundi has requested 40,000 metric tonnes while the requirement for DRC, which he did not disclose, has also been exported.
Government is exporting the commodity as there is need to clear stocks produced last year and create space for this year’s new crop.
“Instead of exporting individually, we would not know how much has gone outside the country. In order for us not to prejudice our own food security, we only needed to export the excess that we did not need,” he said.
He said currently, the country is consuming a monthly allocation of about 100,000 tonnes (1.2 million tonnes annually).
“In the situation where we have produced maize, we want to make sure that what is purchased by various firms that are producing mealie-meal together with strategic stock at least we have 1.2 million metric tonne plus 500,000 metric tonnes of maize which is a fall-back,” he said.
Meanwhile, Government has so far purchased 417,000 metric tonnes through the Food Reserve Agency out of the 500,000 tonnes earmarked for the programme.
He said Government will soon complete buying the remaining quantity.