The Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) has thrown its weight behind the 10% export duty on raw maize.
The position of MAZ sharply contradicted that of maize producers who have lamented that the duty would damage their prospects of getting reasonable returns on their crop.
“We are for the export levy as this will encourage value-addition and the much needed jobs for locals,” said Andrew Chintala, MAZ president.
Chintala said the export market also favoured finished products such as mealie-meal and maize bran.
According to him, finished products had more economic benefits beyond creating jobs to include increasing the nation’s foreign exchange earnings and enhancing Zambia’s export position in the region.
Chintala said the issuance of export permits must be streamlined if Zambia had to capture the full benefits of the finished maize products export markets.
“We have seen some challenges in the processing of export permits. The delays can frustrate he players in the export business,” he said.
But the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) president Jervis Zimba has called on government to scrap the export duty on raw maize. He says the levy would make the local grain unattractive for export. In additional, the market demand was expected to shrink because South Africa and other countries in the regional had also registered a bumper harvest.
The farmers were also gripping about additional local government grain levies that had increased the input costs for producers.
Zambia expected a bumper harvest of 3.6 million tons said to be sufficient to cater for national food security and export