The Zambian government has allowed local grain traders to export maize to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in spite of the country’s moratorium on grain exports.
Government spokesperson Kampamba Mulenga, who is also minister of information, said the decision arose because of great need in the DRC.
“Being food secure in terms of maize sufficiency, we continue to receive requests from other neighbouring nations faced with grain shortages, and arising from the imminent hunger, we allowed our DRC counterparts to buy 25 000 tons of maize from local grain traders,” Mulenga said.
This is the second temporary waiver on the moratorium on maize exports in the last two weeks.
Jean Marie-Kilosho, the DRC’s acting agriculture minister, delivered the request on behalf of his country last Tuesday.
A week earlier, government allowed a similar waiver for the export of 10 000 tons of maize to Zimbabwe. This was preceded by the export of 100 000 tons of maize to Malawi, a transaction which caused great controversy there and in Zambia.
Mulenga reiterated that government will only play the role of facilitator through the ministry of agriculture in deals where special permission is issued for maize exports.
Meanwhile, grain traders were increasingly urging government to completely lift the export ban. They say the ban is distorting market dynamics for maize trading.