Zambia has secured US$100 million worth of maize export deals to the East African region, in what is seen as a move to break into the lucrative export market.
In a related development, the Zambian government has committed to remove bottlenecks and create an express lane for grain exports.
“The deals involve the export of 382 600 tons of maize valued at US$100 million,” said Jacob Mwale, Executive Director of Zambia Commodity Exchange (ZAMACE).
Zambia this year recorded a bumper maize harvest of 3.6 million tons. This is enough to meet the country’s grain requirements, leaving an excess of more than 1.4 million for export. Government has also taken steps to waiver the 10% export duty and clear other impediments to make Zambian grain more competitive internationally.
The East African region is experiencing a maize shortage following severe drought.
According to ZAMACE, the deal strengthened food trade links involving Zambia, Malawi, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.
Mwale said the deals are facilitated by the Zambian government, with help from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) East and Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub. This follows the recent visit of a delegation of grain traders from East Africa.
Meanwhile, agriculture Minister Dora Siliya and her finance counterpart Felix Mutati are in Kenya to facilitate the export of maize into the east African region. A statement released by the Ministry of Agriculture said the ministers will address the requirements to ensure smooth flow of grain exports.
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