price; president

Zambian government hints at maize price regulation

President Edgar Lungu has hinted at some form of maize price regulation following concerns raised by traditional leaders.

“Cabinet will soon refine the theory of the market, which determines the price of maize,” Lungu said.

He said maize has become a “political crop” and government wants to ensure market stability.

Lungu responded to concerns raised by chiefs Kaingu and Shimbizi on the challenges faced by their subjects to get a good return on their crop, following the decision to liberalise the market.

Zambia this year recorded a massive maize harvest of 3.6 million tons. It is sufficient to meet the country’s grain requirements, leaving an excess of more than 1.4 million tons.

Government has also taken steps to liberalise grain marketing. It waivered the 10% export duty and cleared other impediments to make Zambian grain more competitive on the international market.

Since then it has been a free scramble for the commodity, with Zambian and foreign maize buyers locked in a price war. The price of maize currently varied between K40 – K120/50kg.

Grain buyers from Kenya and Tanzania are enticing maize producers with better offers.

Lungu said the decision to liberalise was a tough, but necessary move to ensure farmers benefit more from business-oriented farming.

“The best person to determine the price of fish is the one who goes to the river. The same should apply to farmers. They are rightly placed to determine the price of the maize they labour for,” he said.

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