Zambia might have lifted its maize export ban, but farmers are still worried about the 10% export levy they’ll have to fork up. Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya said government decided to lift the ban because the expected bumper harvest of 3.6 million tons will likely ensure the country’s food security.
The Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) however, says the 10% export levy, combined with the grain levy imposed by local authorities, will make Zambian maize unattractive for export.
Farmers interviewed in Lusaka are skeptical about the announcement. They believe there are too many unanswered questions barely two weeks before marketing season opens. “At this stage, nobody is sure about the floor price for maize. What is also unclear is the policy of liberalised maize marketing,” said Theo Phiri, a small-scale farmer of Lusaka’s 10 Miles.
Siliya said the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) is mandated to buy only up to 500 000 tons of maize for strategic reserves to allow greater participation of the private sector. Previously, FRA was criticised for dominating the maize marketing environment. This led to stakeholders petitioning for a diminished role for the state-owned grain buying agency.
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