The Policy Monitoring and Research Centre (PMRC) says the maize surplus in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region provides an opportunity for Zambian maize farmers to exploit the north and East African markets.
PMRC executive director Bernadette Deka says farmers can take advantage of price differentials between surplus and deficit countries.
“This is a significant incentive for maize producers,” Deka said.
Zambia is projected to record a bumper harvest of 3.6 million tons, an increase of 25% from last year’s 2.8 million. Other SADC countries, including South Africa, Zimbabwe and Malawi have also recorded bumper harvests. The grain surplus will likely result in a decrease of the export price, which currently stands at US$290/per ton.
PMRC urged government to establish cross-border systems which will facilitate maize trade between Zambia and its northern and eastern neighbours. These include the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya and Tanzania.
Deka asked farmers to use co-operatives for maize trade to give them bargaining power and reduce the risk of exploitation.
The think-tank also called for private investment in agricultural infrastructure such as storage facilities and warehousing to capitalise on grain market opportunities.