The Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) says a powerful cartel is behind the 10% maize export duty.
“The cartel wants to control agriculture marketing,” said ZNFU president Jervis Zimba.
According to him, the cartel misled government to impose the tax, which gave them an opportunity to make astronomical profits, while paying farmers peanuts.
Government maintains that the 10% export duty will stay put to encourage value addition and the creation of local jobs.
Zimba dismissed this, saying value addition and job creation cannot thrive when agriculture is being destroyed.
Farmers have been besieged by private grain traders, who are paying K50/50kg for maize and K70/50kg for soya bean. In the previous marketing season farmers got K85/50kg for maize and K220/50kg for soya bean.
“Government must take good care of farmers who made the bumper harvest possible,” he said.
Zimba said his union is cognisant that millers are also supporting the export duty. He said it is slanted in their favour to make huge profits out of poor farmers.
“These millers can do without farmers as they can easily import grain when there is a shortfall on the market,” he said.
ZNFU insisted that the removal of the export duty will benefit smallholder farmers who can then take advantage of the east-African market. This includes Kenya, where there is a grain deficit.
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