Farmers Union cautions Government on Proposed Maize Export Ban

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FILE: President Edgar Lungu chats with Mr Joseph Daka Maize Seed farmer of Mkushi farming Block during the Tours of Mkushi farms

The Zambia National farmers Union (ZNFU) has urged the Government to be caution in the way it handles the proposal from Zambia Union of Financial Institutions and Allied Workers to ban maize exports so that the country only exports finished products in the form of mealie meal.

In a statement released to the media today, ZNFU said that the country is ill prepared to store the excess maize as it does not have adequate storage facilities where this maize can sit while the process of adding value takes place.

ZNFU also said that the Maize ban will lead to rampant smuggling of maize grain across our borders., loss of revenue to the Central Treasury and loss of maize grain, which will in turn affect national food security.

Below is the full statement

PROPOSED BANNING OF MAIZE EXPORTS

The call on Government by the Zambia Union of Financial Institutions and Allied Workers to ban maize exports so that the country only exports finished products in the form of mealie meal, should be treated with utmost caution and be well thought through.

What we should immediately ask ourselves is does the country have adequate storage facilities where this maize can sit while the process of adding value takes place?

If the Food Reserve Agency buys only 500, 000 metric tonnes in a season, where will farmers, 85% of whom are small scale, going to store their maize? At whose cost?
Will this result in maize grain wastage or not? How will this impact on farmers?

Firstly, Zambia has 458 grain storage units (as at 2010) with capacity to hold 2 million metric tonnes (and a further 98, 000 metric tonnes planned additional capacity). However, of this space only 1.1 million metric tonnes is grain-habitable, while the rest needs major facelift and overhaul.

Government does not have adequate silos to store away maize from farmers, neither is it willing to buy maize off of all farmers, given the FRA’s capacity, both financially and capacity storage. Other silos are in private hands; mostly grain traders.

The storage inadequacies have resulted in the usage of modest technology; slabs, logs and sheds.

While Grain stored in a silo can remain in good condition for a longer period because fumigation and grain management is more effective; holding grain in sheds, on slabs and logs is disastrous and leads to losses of huge proportions associated with deteriorating crop quality due to long periods of outdoor storage, and rotting.

We should also ask ourselves how much shelf life mealie meal has, and how much would be moved at any given time!

Secondly, stopping the maize from being exported would lead to prices crashing further. Already maize prices have tumbled to K1.2/kg.

While this may be good for millers and consumers, it is definitely a stumbling block to the growth of the agriculture sector. Reduced earnings would lead to reduced investments and production, and ultimately reduced processing. Then the country will go back to importing maize.

This would lead to loss of jobs and increased poverty among farmers and rural dwellers. It will also lead to rampant smuggling of maize grain across our borders., loss of revenue to the Central Treasury and loss of maize grain, which will in turn affect national food security.

While it is plausible to think of strategies on how to earn the country the much needed Foreign Exchange, we should, as a country, first address the issues stated above of storage, markets, food security, jobs and the well being of the people producing the crop; the farmers.

FOR ZAMBIA NATIONAL FARMERS’ UNION

Calvin K. Kaleyi
MEDIA & PUBLIC RELATIONS MANAGER

20 COMMENTS

  1. +7
    0
    vote

    The government does NOT care.

    They care only about pocketing loans, and buying second hand 10 year old fire trucks.

    • +1
      -21
      vote

      Who cares about Maize

      Here is the thing, here in UK we eat Potatoes, noodles etc and do not eat byproduct of Maize. Nshima? you have got to be kidding

      My point is diversify people, your life span is 35 years old and that is because of the lifestyle you lead. The lifestyle starts with the food you eat. No western people eat NSHIMA.

      As they colonized you, why aren’t you eating like them ( well us in this case).

      This is a challenge to you.

      I have a PhD

      Thanks

      BB2014,2016

    • +2
      0
      vote

      Do you mean this country has no brains to sort out a simple issue discussed year in and year out? This Maize story is just so boring let anyone who wats to salel his/her maize sell it anywhere… if government can not pay a market price let the people sale the maize where they can get a better price. Whats the issue????

    • +3
      -1
      vote

      I’m beginning to lose faith in my govt!

      What nonsense is this to try and enrich these millers who have already become flithy rich by buying maize at a pittance from the hard working farmer!

      2021 we will see what happens, its just so sad we don’t have any good oppossition to address this issue!

      Farmers have made such a big loss this year that I wonder who will farm???

      Ba Lsk Times please keep reporting on these issues to do with agriculture and the challenges farmers are facing in wake of the low maize price!

    • +4
      -1
      vote

      Is this not the same government through it’s president who said he was not going to interfere with maize Marketing? So they expect peasant farmers to suddenly set up plants to add value to maize? This government has no respect for its people. They think they are inteligent by treating us like scum. The only reason why they are proposing the export ban is to force our poor farmers to sell to them cheaply so that they can export the same maize at a higher price reaping where they did not sow. 2021 Zambians should vote wisely. Enough is enough. We’re tired of being robbed by these criminals without shame.

  2. +1
    0
    vote

    The value addition initiative is way to go. However, this must be taken as a long term implementation process to give adequate time for grain storage solution.
    For now, we need to continue with raw maize exports to avoid wastage and prevent smuggling.

  3. +2
    -1
    vote

    It’s easier to export maize than mealie meal bcoz not all maize is used for mealie meal. Govt should concentrate on the K60 issue than burning maize export!

  4. +2
    -1
    vote

    The millers and two ministers who know themselves will have to answer to the nation next year when we fail to get a bumper harvest and have to import maize-what an embarrassment it will be for Zambia to import maize!

    FARMERS HAVE BEEN DISCOURAGED FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE WITH THE LOW MAIZE PRICE THIS YEAR!

    Politics aside this is a death sentence and I’m ashamed with my govt for what they have done to the poor farmer! May God judge those responsible for this injustice accordingly!

  5. +3
    -1
    vote

    Badly thought strategy bound to flop cuz Life doesn’t revolve around nshima.
    Are you gonna export cereals ,lecithin ,ethanol ,corn syrup ,gluten meal and corn starch for pharmaceuticals,cosmetics and industrial polymers?

    • +19
      -2
      vote

      Mushota,

      your hybrid Western sentiments are sick – and make me sick!

      Just for your information: tonight I will enjoy a meal in Rome, including Nshima – and so far I have made it and passed the 75 year-mark in spite of Nshima.

  6. vote

    Mushota, I’m truly beginning wonder whether you even have a brain, let alone all the degrees you claim to have. Your lack of understanding and logical reasoning simply confirms you are just another bonehead. Even fools think they are important. You are a real stress factor with your silly rantings.

  7. +1
    0
    vote

    Entirely agree with the ZNFU stance. Really, how much of value addition is turning maize into mealie-meal? Come on, let’s be serious! How about advocating the ban of the importation of products like cornflakes, and other such South African junk, and investing in industries for their local production, for instance?!

  8. +2
    0
    vote

    The gamers union does not know what food reserve is and therefore will oppose anything. Dialogue dialogue …

  9. +1
    -1
    vote

    Exporting finished product will add value to the product,hence more revenue for the goverment.Adding value will create more jobs since millers will need more people.Maybe more shifts.

  10. +2
    0
    vote

    Let the ef.fers first teach us how to add value to raw copper cathodes. Value addition to emerald polishing. Mukulu logs in raw form

    For farmers sadly this is just gang **** !

    Its everyone and anyones chance to **** the farmer this year.

    And wtf would a financial workers union of lazy ****** want to interfere in maize ?

  11. +2
    -1
    vote

    PLEASE ALL FARMERS THIS YEAR JUST CULTIVATE ENOUGH FOR YOUR BELLIES. THIS GOVERNMENT OF ECL DOES NOT THINK WELL. LUNGU REDUCES MAIZE FROM K85 TO K50/50KG FORGETING THAT A FARMER BOUGHT HIS/HER SEED ON 380/10, FERTILIZER WAS K450/50 AND LABOUR THEN YOU TORCH YOUR OWN RELATIVES WITH NO SALE OF MAIZE FROM OUTSIDE. THIS IS WHAT ALL OF US FARMERS WILL BE ARRESTED OF OUR OWN FOOD. LUNGU AND SILIT HAVE NO FARMS AND THEY HAVE NEVER FELT PINCH OF HARD LABOUR A FARMER FACES. THIS WHAT IAM CALLING THEM AS TOILET TISSUE SOLUTIONS.

  12. 0
    -1
    vote

    Value Addition is rocket science in Zambia, if these maize importing countries can buy maize why cant they buy mealie meal. I am not a government supporter but awe this time around govt is correct. The only problem is that this policy and most policies are rushed without proper consultative processes.

  13. +1
    0
    vote

    cooperative can hold milling plants and i understand we have cooperative pitch your ideas to the bank and you will have a processing plant value addition is what has even developed whatever country you are hibernating in even i developed countries they have policies that are still been refined 10 years after implemented USA Obama care things dont just make sense there and then but we need to start from somewhere i dont like the step of reducing purchase price by FRA but that is a work up call for farmers
    dont think of not growing the crop think of adding value to you produce to make an extra amount for your family
    as for you friends eating cereals goodluck but dont insult us

  14. +1
    0
    vote

    same story….. year in year out..
    we do not have enough storage for the staple food Maize.
    better to build more silos than buy fire tenders for $ 1 million dollars each.
    how many silos can we build from $42 million dollars?
    more than the current bumper harvest can hold!
    anyway this is a case of more money in PF pockets?
    God help us!

Comments are closed.