Zambia will maintain a ban on exports of the maize crop as it struggles to build strategic reserves. This comes on the back of increasing prices and strong regional demand. This is an attempt by the country to protect national food security to last until the next harvest. The government has indicated that there will be no exports of maize until the country is food secure.
Production of maize recovers in 2016 despite the late start of season. This is as a result of beneficial weather between January and March, following unfavourable dry conditions during late 2015. Results from the Government‑led crop assessment indicate a 10% increase in the 2016 maize crop, estimated at 2.87 million tons.
This comes during the time when the regional drought hit production in neighbouring countries which triggered strong demand for Zambian maize from the region. As a result of strong demand for Zambian maize, the government suspended maize exports until the end of September 2016 in order to secure the country’s stocks.
Reports have meanwhile indicated that maize have continued to exit Zambia in spite of the formal ban on exports, owing to high regional demand and favourable prices in the neighbouring countries. As a result, the government has announced that law enforcement agencies are vigilant and are closely monitoring various border points in order to ensure restrictions of illegal export of maize and maize products.
In addition to good prices received by producers for maize, soybeans and sunflower are also crops that are yielding good earnings and demand has been as equally high. Good returns for these crops are expected to encourage producers to invest into these crops, which may support production expansions during the coming 2016/17 production season, provided the outlook of favourable rainfall materializes.
The wheat crop is expected to reach 250 000 tons, slightly higher than the previous year
In recent times, Kenya increased maize imports from Uganda, the move which producers are not happy about as they argue that these imports are eating into their market share. The government officials have indicated that Kenya is not in a position to stop the imports of maize from Uganda since it forms part of the East African Community (EAC) bloc.
Instead, the government has put a challenge to its producers to be more competitive in crops production in order to remain relevant in the market. The implementation of EAC Common Market Protocol allows free trade in commodities including cereals.
An upward pressure on Kenyan maize prices has been derived from the expensive imports.
Supplies of maize in Zimbabwe are mostly available through the country, especially in the northern region and a few localized areas in the south. As a result of the drought induced weather conditions during the 2015/16 production year which resulted in lower output of grains, supplies are declining in these areas. The lower maize output has resulted in higher prices for the crop, even though price relief can be drawn as the humanitarian assistance coverage increases.
The governments of Zimbabwe is considering adding the soybean crop among crops whose production it will be supporting through various initiatives, and also improve producer awareness on the need to take up production. This comes as the cooking oil manufacturing industry in Zimbabwe is now able to produce enough to meet local demand, but is being constrained by shortages of the raw material.
After the Government restricted importation of cooking oil, production increased at production plants. Production was however constrained by shortages of soya bean and cotton seed, which are used to produce the commodity and other by-products.
A decline in production of maize is expected in Namibia during the 2015/16 production season as a result of poor seasonal rainfall due to drought induced conditions. The declines follow a bumper year during 2014/15 production season, which saw increases in maize output.
Namibian producers will now be in a position to start exporting livestock especially weaners to South Africa again after great progress was made in permit negotiations between the two countries. Namibia normally exports weaners to South Africa in large quantities, but exports were put to a stop since the 1st of July 2016 following strict import requirements from the South African government.
Four facilities have been approved by the South African government for the export of weaners into the country. No import permits have been given out by South Africa’s Directorate Animal Health for these feedlots yet. The Namibian Meat board has noted that it is important that dates of vaccinations against diseases such as anthrax and dates and results of tests for diseases such as tuberculosis are available in order to facilitate the export process.
Weaner prices averaged N$19.41/kg during the first three months of the year, and prices have declined to an average of N$15.64/kg during the month of July. Live cattle marketed to South Africa during the July and August was insignificant. July saw a 99.9% decline in the number of cattle per head marketed, with live cattle numbers declining from 31837 heads to only 2 in July 2016.
153 cattle were marketed during the month of August. This lower numbers of cattle marketed follows the strict import restrictions that kicked off on the first of July 2016.