The ban on Zambian maize exports was still standing and would remain in place until the government had filled their strategic grain reserves for 2016.
“There will not be a single grain of maize exported as long as the FRA does not have 500 000 metric tons of maize,” Amos Chanda, presidential spokesperson, told Bloomberg. “Government has the sovereign mandate to ensure people don’t starve.”
According to the business news site, Bloomberg, Zambia and Tanzania, were the only southern African countries who were able to produce surplus maize during the severe drought.
The maize price in Zambia increased with an average of 16,7 percent since November 2016 according to the national official statistics authority.
The country had been able to produce a 634 681 tonnes surplus of maize, but the government was only able to buy 280 000 tons at the start of November. Farmers opted to rather sell their supply stock to private buyers who offererd higher prices.
According to the Bloomberg, Chanda accused grain traders in Zambia of trying to “arm-twitch and blackmail” the government into lifting the export ban.
The Finance Minister, Felix Mutati, said that these export bans hurt production and that the government should avoid using these instruments.