Zambia’s Central Statistical Office (CSO) says maize accounted for most of the agricultural exports in the last quarters of 2017.
According to the CSO, Zambia’s earnings from agricultural exports recorded a growth of 8.6% from K525.9 million to K571 million. Its major export commodities were maize, soya beans and maize seed. Maize accounted for 21% of the total earnings from agricultural exports.
In October 2017, earnings from maize exports were K107.8 million, while in November the figure rose to K120.1 million.
The Great Lakes region, made up of Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan and the Republic of Congo, had proved a lucrative market for local grain traders. A fifth consecutive below average rainy season was also expected this year, increasing the need for grain imports in the region.
Maize exports surged since September last year due to the continuing regional drought, according to shipping agents. Maize volumes to the region were reported to have increased to more than 15 000 tons/month from 11 000 tons.
Aside from agricultural exports, non-traditional exports also recorded an increase of 4.9% from K1.231 million to K1.291 million. However, exporters faced logistical challenges coupled with local exchange volatility.