Grain traders to offload 500 000 tons of maize onto local market

The Millers Association of Zambia’s (MAZ) president, Andrew Chintala, said, in an interview today, that traders had agreed to make 500 000t of maize available on the local market after negotiations with government, the Zambian National Farmers Union (ZNFU), the Grain Traders Association and other stakeholders.

“This development will mean sufficient maize stock for production,” Chintala said.

He made a further appeal to farmers and traders, currently hoarding maize, to consider putting the stored maize on the market. Traders are thought to have bought an estimated 600 000t of maize from the previous season.

This year, the food reserve agency has bought maize at ZMW85/50kg, while millers have bought at ZMW100/50kg.

At a recent stakeholder meeting, the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) was advised not to buy or sell any maize in the private sector, or to allow direct trade between private sector parties. According to those present, the estimated FRA maize stock of 300 000t is sufficient to prevent any food crisis in the 2016/17 marketing season.

Government has currently imposed an export ban on maize until February despite stocks being enough to satisfy local demand.

The 2017 budget imposed a 10% export levy on maize which is likely to make export an unattractive option when the ban is lifted.

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