Zambia shut down its maize exports in October, but, according to Reuters, the government had opened its borders to export of 100 000 tons of white maize to Malawi.
“The maize has already started moving, through two companies, and we hope that it will alleviate the food situation in Malawi,” said Julius Shawa, permanent secretary to the Zambian ministry of agriculture, at a press conference.
The UN World Food Programme planned to export an additional 60 000 tons of maize to Malawi and Zimbabwe as food relief for these two countries, hard hit by the current drought currently savaging the southern African region.
Zambia’s maize production in the 2015/2016 season has risen to 2,87 million tons, up from the 2,6 million tons produced in the previous season.
Shawa said the government may lift its private sector export ban in January, after the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) had ‘banked’ 500 000 tons of maize for the strategic reserve which was 220 000 tons short of targeted volumes. Grain traders had told the government they were ready to supply the necessary tonnage of maize from the 794 785 tons they were holding to get export trade going.
The FRA had extended its deadline, for the receipt of offers to supply the agency with Grade A white non-GM maize from 7 November to 14 November, in the most recent Zambian National Farmers’ Union brief.