The Zambian government has reversed the 10% export duty on raw maize following an outcry from farmers. The duty was ostensibly imposed to encourage value addition and job creation.
Farmers relentlessly fought against the tax, describing it as a major policy inconsistency that will discourage increased grain productivity.
Zambian National Farmers Union (ZNFU) president Jervis Zimba said the decision will enhance the opportunity for local producers to export their grain at economically acceptable prices.
Farmers relentlessly fought against the tax
“This development means that Zambian maize will be very competitive in the regional market, giving us an edge on exports to north and east-African markets,” Zimba said.
He said Zambia will have an excess of 1.4 million tons of maize to meet demand from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo, Kenya and others countries with grain deficits.
Stressing the need for consistency on agricultural policies, he urged for the streamlining of export procedures for farmers to effectively take advantage of regional markets.
On the liberal maize pricing, Zimba said the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) should participate in this year’s crop marketing season like any other player in the market. “This will ensure that there is no distorting effect on grain marketing,” he said.
The crop marketing season opened three weeks ago amid confusion on whether government will set the floor price. There are also concerns over a slew of taxes maize producers must pay. Currently, local prices range between K40 – K60/50kg bag.