The possibility of an oversupply of maize, as well as deflated prices, are looming just three months before the 2017 harvest starts.
This prompted the Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) to make a desperate plea to government to allow it to export a surplus of 23 000 tons of maize before this year’s harvest.
“Government should consider opening doors so that whatever stocks we are holding, which is extensive, should be allowed to be rolled out of the country in preparation for new stock,” said Andrew Chintala, MAZ president.
According to MAZ, exporting 23 000 tons of surplus maize will open up space for the new crop.
Government earlier said it will only allow maize exports after ensuring the country had sufficient reserves.
Chintala said their plea to export the surplus had already taken into consideration Zambia’s need for food security.
Previously the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) said accumulated stock will pose significant storage challenges for farmers. This will result in the crop going to waste.
Other stakeholders also urged government to allow maize exports, as it will be economically beneficial for the country.
Estimates by ZNFU indicate that Zambia will have a total of 915 000 tons of maize stock prior to the 2017 harvest. Of that, GTAZ holds 415 000, the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) 280 000, MAZ keeps 60 000 and ZNFU holds 40 000 tons.
A further 120 000 tons are expected from farmers who planted early maturing maize.