maize ban; export

Farmers struggling to find space for maize due to export ban

Faced with a possible over-supply of maize stock and depressed prices, farmers are now battling to find storage space for their grain.

The Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) says storage space will be a major challenge as Zambia accumulated huge stocks of maize as a result of the moratorium on grain exports.

“This will result in most of the crop going to waste. It will also demoralise farmers,” ZNFU said at a stakeholder meeting to discuss the impact of the ban.

ZNFU said most farmers did not have storage facilities and relied on quick transportation of their maize to buyers. An over-supply will lead to a decline in demand, leaving farmers stuck with their crop.

Estimates by the organisation indicate that Zambia will have a total of 915 000 tons of maize stock prior to the 2017 harvest. A further 120 000 tons are expected from farmers who planted early maturing maize.

The British envoy to Zambia has meanwhile urged government to allow the export of surplus grain to neighbouring countries.

High Commissioner Fergus Cochrane-Dyer said maize exports could benefit Zambia economically.

“It would be prudent for government to allow commercial farmers to export excessive crop to raise more revenue,” Cochrane-Dyer told local media.

Government has not yet reacted to Cohrane-Dyer’s call.

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