The Food Reserve Agency (FRA) says it will earn US$13 million from the export of surplus maize from the 2016 farming season.
FRA Executive Director Chola Kafwabulula said the agency would earn the money for facilitating the transaction of exporting 100,000 tons of maize to East Africa.
According to FRA, there were 29 companies that have applied for export permits. Of the 29 companies, 26 were Zambian while the remaining three are foreign entities.
“We want to have markets in east Africa and the great lakes region, so that whenever we have a bumper harvest the farmers are not left stranded in terms of where they will sell their crop,” Kafwabulula said.
This year’s maize production was 3.6 million tons, an increase of 25% from last year. Further, government opened export markets and waived taxes to make the crop competitive on the international market.
However, the situation is difficult for local farmers because the FRA had not disclosed its price offer. Local and foreign private buyers have already made market offers ranging from K50/50kg – K120/50kg bag.
The FRA was expected to announce its offer this week, and to start buying the crop in the first week of August. The FRA offer, according to industry watchers, would be the de facto floor price.