The Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) says a shortage of maize is likely to hit the local market as farmers are holding back their crops.
MAZ President Andrew Chintala said a drop in the supply of grain will lead to increased prices for maize flour, the nation’s staple food.
“We are worried at the rate which the maize is flowing into our mills. In the last 2 weeks, there has been a low supply of grain by farmers who have opted to hold onto the commodity,” Chintala told local media.
An oversupply of maize arising from a 3.6 million tons bumper harvest deflated maize prices to as low as K40/50kg from a previous high of K85/50kg. The development riled farmers, who were urged by the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) to hold the crop back until the prices improved.
“We risk a serious shortage if farmers continue holding their maize back,” Chintala said.
According to several private maize buyers interviewed by Africanfarming.com, the export market was getting more focus as the prices kept improving.
“In the last few weeks, buyers went on a maize-buying binge, offering relatively higher prices than the beginning of the year as the demand on the export market grew,” said Donald Mate.
Meanwhile, MAZ is also concerned that there won’t be sufficient stocks of wheat. Last year, Zambia had a shortfall of 200 000 tons of wheat. The country consumes 540 000 tons of the grain per year.