Thursday, June 20, 2024

Government gives green light to export of maize surplus of 1.1 million tonnes


The Zambia Government has allowed farmers and traders to export the maize surplus of 1.1 million tonnes mainly in southern African after a good harvest, but farmers have urged more exports.

Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNUF) president Jervis Zimba told Reuters today that farmers also wanted the government to provide tax waivers on maize exports and other incentives to make exports cheaper.

He said they are looking at exporting somewhere around 1.3 million tonnes in order not to have serious carry-overs for the next crop. Zimba said proposals to subsidise exports would also allow excess maize to be removed from the local market and guarantee higher prices in the 2010/11 season, after the government kept this year’s prices flat at K65,000 per 50kg bag.

Zimba said maize output would drop if the government did not facilitate the export of the surplus through an export subsidy.
South Africa said in April that it had secured foreign markets to sell its surplus maize of about 4 million tonnes in the 2009/10 season to safeguard maize prices for local farmers.

[pullquote] Zimba said proposals to subsidise exports would also allow excess maize to be removed from the local market and guarantee higher prices in the 2010/11 season, after the government kept this year’s prices flat at K65,000 per 50kg bag.[/pullquote]

Zambia produced 2.7 million tonnes of white maize in 2009/2010, beating last season’s harvest of 1.9 million tonnes, to leave a surplus of 1.1 million, according to a government crop survey.

Zimba said Zambia’s food balance sheet showed that total maize required for human consumption was 1.3 million tonnes, 230,000 tonnes for industrial use and 200,000 for strategic reserves.

Zambia, Africa’s top copper producer, also relies on copper exports for about 63 percent of foreign exchange earnings.

It has in the previous seasons exported maize to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana and Angola.

Exporters said they will target exports to Zimbabwe, after it declared 11 percent of its maize a write-off due to a dry spell, and also to other neighboring countries.

Meanwile, Kenya and Sudan have expressed interest in importing maize from Zambia.

Agriculture Minister Peter Daka says ZAMBIA has the capacity to export Maize and other crops to neighbouring countries and the sub region.

Zambia this year has over three million tonnes of maize following a bumper harvest recorded this year and carry over stock from last year.

Mr Daka said this during a consultative workshop on the development of the Zambia National Rice Strategy in Lusaka on today.

The minister said Zambia could treble its rice production if it develops a strategic plan for the sector.

Zambia currently produces 42 thousand metric tones of rice annually.



  1. ” Zambia’s food balance sheet showed that total maize required for human consumption was 1.3 million tonnes, 230,000 tonnes for industrial use and 200,000 for strategic reserves.”

    So if annual requirement is 1.3 million tonnes, and the food reserve is only 200,000 tonnes, that would mean that Zambia has a food reserve that would only cover 1 month of food?

    This is idiocy. Zambia should have a least 2 years worth of food reserves to call itself food secure. Take this year’s surplus, sell last year’s reserve and top it off with new stocks. And use the profits to build more silos.

  2. “Zimba said proposals to subsidise exports would also allow excess maize to be removed from the local market and guarantee higher prices in the 2010/11 season, after the government kept this year’s prices flat at K65,000 per 50kg bag.”

    Because of a combination of demand (national staple) and high costs, Zambia already has some of the highest maize prices.

    Removing ‘excess maize’ would ‘guarantee higher prices’ – meaning ordinary people would pay more for their maize – the cost of living would go up. Maize is a national staple, and not something that should be the subject of speculation. Prices should go down, not up.

  3. Good move.

    Zambia’s market is too small for the maize surplus. We need to expand our portfolio in terms of market for our maize produce to give an incentive to farmers to produce more.

    Hopefully next time we export Maheu, Mealie meal, Corn Flour, Packaged processed snacks, Opaque bear instead of maize because those are finished goods. However, this is a step in the right direction more especially in terms of economic diversification.

    Good Move

  4. No, this is not good news if it means prices of staple food for ordinary poor Zambians will remain high.

    The only one happy about this is that foreigner who owns NMC.

  5. #1, 2: I agree with you. Our Govt dont seem to know what they are doing. A drought next year would see Zambia importing GMOs…..silly!

  6. There is nothing wrong with this policy. Some people are talking like Zambia even has the capacity to store all this maize. It should be exported as quickly as possible for we dont have the storage capacity otherwise it will just go to waste. It is also a fallacy that you have to keep this maize so that meali meal becomes cheaper. Of course if you saturate the market prices will drop. However this will be at the expense of the next agricultural season. Fact is farmers will have no incentive to produce if the prices are depressed. Every agricultural surplus country does what Zambia wants to do. Sometimes govts either buy all the produce and dump it at low prices in importing countries.In Europe and US the govts also can pay farmers to not produce anything if there is a glut of produce.

  7. When we have a farmer in state house, things happen. Hunger in Zambia was only a Chiluba phenomenon, but MiniBuses did well due to his background. Sell the maizeto help farmers get a good price. They will be encouraged to grow more next year, unless you elct Sata, Policemen and firearms will do will if that happens.

  8. But if we have excess maize then the price should be cheaper but then its been kept at the same amount but anyhow if it kept at the same amount after exporting the money government will get should b put in good use as the farmers will use theirs to grow more which means more jobs in the agriculture sector. I believe in theory it should work like that. But there again is a problem how can we only keep the exact amount of maize that is required for human consumption. There should be extra for at least two year or saw as one blogger above has mentioned.#1 MrK

  9. Trigo, Mr. Capitalist, The Legacy,

    If Zambia is so good at producing maize, let’s use that fact and build on it. I would suggest the following priorities (in that order):

    1) Food Security

    The state should sell some of the surplus and use the money to build silos (jobs) and store much more maize for the food reserve. Every year older stocks can be sold off or used for manufacturing.

    2) Manufacturing and Processing

    Bourbon (Jim Beam, Jack Daniels), corn bread, cornflakes – they’re all made from maize. Those need to be bottled, boxed, transported – those are all jobs that can be created from this industry. (No need for ‘foreign investors’ to ‘bring jobs’ as the MMD and neoliberals put it.)

  10. 3) Export itself

    Maize that cannot be consumed or stored, can still be sold for a profit, and invested in other industries. The state can use profit from exports to subsidize domestic consumption of maize – this would lower prices for consumers while keeping prices for farmers high enough to be profitable.

    Also, as the good harvest seems to be derived from higher rainfall, the state should invest in irrigation works to more permanently guarantee good harvests.

  11. Off topic, i don’t know whether you guys know that you can make unlimited calls to landlines in Zambia from the USA, for $25.99 a month of course it includes unlimited calling within the USA and 60 other countries.The only african countries within the 60 unlimited landphone countries are Zambia, South Africa & Kenya. This service has been going on for quite some time. check vonage dot com.

  12. I can tell you all bloggers that Zambia will be importimng maize in January 2011!~
    I have seen this hype before.

  13. #13 Off topic. I have to buy a 25kg bag of mealie meal more than 10$ for a family of 3 a month. Prices of mealie meal have just been reduced specifically by Esther’s father Peter Cotten. What is obtaining on the retail community is different,it will always be as businessmen who foresee a turn in supply& demand amass this commodity too. Its easy, they provide transport to go & pick up the power peasant’s maize & buy it at a more cheaper price but more convinient for him because it saves him the hassle of transportation & storage. Zambian Govt is just a mere optunist, most ministers r farmers including RB a& this is an oportunity to amass wealth in the name of export to their benefits. Demand and supply can always be manupilated & the common man wil sufer in the grass. 1 month food…

  14. why is it that the price of ubunga is not at K10 pin if there is good harvest? why should u export if kaunga is still expensive?

  15. #15 and #16 The price of ubunga is not K10,000 even when there is a good harvest because there is what is called cost of production of both maize and mealie meal.

    If you want to feed people, then worry about the farmer, and not those who want cheap mealie meal.

  16. #17,can u put on reading glasses plz before u ooze air. 10 USD =K50,000+. Hell of a squid. How many ‘big’ farmers do you know and how many small scale ones do you know? I know that RB is one, Magande is one,FTJ maybe to smart to be one, Chimsoro tonga bull is one and many actually in the diaspora. Every time i walk through shoprite, i see lots of Ads to sell farms. Ok. I have said, its too early to declare ‘exports’ in maize. I for one have lived in the farming area growing crops like maize & i have seen how people r exploited by those ‘having’. It is to the advantage of RB’s & CHIMSORO’s because they wil ve more to export if not all and earn lots + kwacha naipona. The common man wil soon cry foul, wait. Poor people only work to get mealie meal & nothing else. These r campaign…

  17. What a dull government, bampur harvest but the price of ubunga is high and you even want to sale so you can make some capital for next year’s election campaing

  18. #17, government should subsidise the bag of maize to enable millers reduce the production cost and sale ubunga at a bit lower price. Why are they so axious of selling before sorting out the poverty from within???

  19. farming is very hard, infact its hard labour , first you wake up at 04 am to plough the field, the have to spend 12 hrs in the scotching sun to weed the field further have to spend another 12 hrs / day harvesting for 2 weeks an them someone whants ti get a bag at K 10,000.

    what would be the benefit of all this hard labour plus capital employed anyway, if exports will give us more money then we are ready to export everything !!!!

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