The Zambian Ministry of Agriculture has denied corruption with maize exports. This came after an opposition leader – Dr Saviour Chishimba – had taken to social media and charged that the export of 100,000 tons to Malawi was being corruptly orchestrated by politically-connected individuals in the ruling Patriotic Front (PF).
The permanent secretary for agriculture, Julius Shaba, has dismissed speculation that a syndicate involving government officials have been busting the export sanction. “Authority has been granted to exempt humanitarian and government-to-government agreements because of the food crisis in die region,” he said.
He explained that the World Food Programme (WFP) that carried out humanitarian missions had been allowed to export a total of 52,047 tons of maize to needy countries in the region with Malawi receiving 30,820 ton, Zimbabwe 20,079 ton and Mozambique 1,148 ton.
EXPORTS TO ZIMBABWE AND MALAWI
Shawa also said authority has been given under a government-to-government deal for the export of 100,000 ton of maize to Malawi, an exercise that will be done through the Zambia Co-operative Federation (ZCF) and Malawi’s Transglobe Limited, respectively.
“As of last week, ZCF had exported 1,800 metric tonnes of maize, while Transglobe had been issued with a permit to export a further 1,500 metric tonnes under this arrangement,” he said.
He said that in addition, government had also received requests from the government of Zimbabwe to export 13,456 metric tonnes of maize.
“Once verifications have been done, the maize will be exported to Zimbabwe.”
Speculation about the maize scam also seem to have been heightened by silence from government following assurances by government that there would be no exports until Zambia had sufficient maize stocks and mealie-meal prices were stabilised.