The 10% export duty on raw maize is a recipe for smuggling, says Wynter Kabimba, a former minister and leader of the Zambian opposition party, Rainbow.
Kabimba said the export duty will ultimately make government lose colossal sums of revenue as grain traders resort to smuggling.
“There are many bush paths to get the maize into some of our neighbouring countries, and grain traders who simply use those paths to smuggle the maize. The end result is that government will lose much-needed revenue,” he said.
Government has, however, maintained that the 10% export duty will not be removed.
Zambia expected to harvest 3.6 million tons of maize this year, a 25% increase from last year.
But the bumper harvest brought little cheer for maize growers. The maize price dropped from about K85/50kg last season to K50/50kg.
Zambian National Farmers Union (ZNFU) president Jervis Zimba said the export tax will “systematically” destroy the agriculture sector.
“Government must be aware that we are not the only nation in the region that has a bumper harvest, and hence should be strategic not to make our crop uncompetitive on the regional markets,” he said.