Regional Neighbors Demand More Corn From Zambia
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Zambian Agriculture minister Reuben Mtolo said: Kenya and other countries in East Africa want more than 500,000 metric tons of the grain while regional neighbors Malawi, Angola, DR Congo, Mozambique, and Namibia, among others, want an estimated 800,000 metric tons to meet consumption needs.
We are overwhelmed by inquiries from our neighbors and beyond; the region needs our Corn, while from East Africa, mainly Kenya, they are asking for over 850,000 metric tons. The increased demand comes in the wake of the Southern African state; the regional main food basket had harvested 2.7 million metric tons in the 2021/22 season, 25% lower than a season earlier yield of 3.6, according to the national food production data.
The downturn in Corn output is spurred by a reduction in the area planted during the season under review because of reduced subsidies to smallholder farmers because of delayed distribution of agriculture inputs coupled with the low rainfall pattern and the Fall Army Worms that affected most farming areas.
However, Minister Mtolo remains optimistic that the country would meet the demand for the Corn grain, a primary staple food in most African countries, and remain food secure with the liberalization of the market when it exports despite removing border restrictions that frustrated farmers who sought space storage of excess produce.
Zambia was still food secure as it had carryover stocks of 1.5 million tons with farmers, millers, grain traders, and the nation’s Food Reserve Agency (FRA), Phiri said.
Recently, the country’s largest farming group-ZNFY had contended that export restrictions were hampering grain prices and causing a loss of incomes among rural dwellers. In contrast, the Zambia Union of Financial Institutions and Allied Workers supported the ban on the export of raw Corn.
“Instead of exporting finished products such as mealie meal, the country still exports grain. Let some policies forbid the export of raw Corn to maximize foreign exchange,” ZUFIAW President Ackim Mweemba had claimed.
But ZNFU refuted Mweemba’s arguments. It argued the decision was retrogressive as it would further inflict poverty in rural areas while forcing the country to lose on the regional Corn market, which fetches an average of US$240/ton.
“The call on Government by the Zambia Union of Financial Institutions and Allied Workers to ban Corn 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,” farmers spokesperson Calvin Kaleyi said in a statement.
Minister Mtolo informed in late 2022: “We have over 1.2 million metric tons of Corn in stock, and there is no need to panic. We have more Corn than we need for a year and are food-secure. Millers, on the other hand, have more than 300,000 metric tons, which means we could have more than 1.5 million tons in storage”.
Corn Trade in Zambia
In 2021, Zambia exported Corn worth $51.1 million, making it the 36th largest exporter of Corn in the world. The same year, Corn was the 23rd most shipped product in Zambia. The leading destination of Corn exports from Zambia is Zimbabwe ($17.6 million), Tanzania ($13.1 million), Kenya ($5.4 million), Botswana ($2.47 million), and Malawi ($2.45 million).
In 2021, Zambia imported Corn worth $5.05 million, becoming the world’s 133rd largest importer of Corn. In the same year, Corn was Zambia’s 227th most imported product. Zambia imports Corn primarily from: South Africa ($3.42 million), China ($685k), Zimbabwe ($579k), Thailand ($203k), and the United States ($93.5k).
Other sources: FURTHER AFRICA
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