The Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) is opposed to a proposal by millers calling for an import duty waiver on wheat. According to ZNFU, the proposed waiver would be detrimental to local wheat production.
“Zambia should consider adopting the South African system of supporting local production of wheat by maintaining the import duty permanently and revising it upwards whenever global wheat prices drop,” ZNFU said in a statement.
The Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) and Grain Traders Association of Zambia (GTAZ) have argued for a waiver to import 200 000 tons of wheat to mitigate the deficit faced by the nation.
ZNFU have countered the argument that the import duty waiver would give unfair advantage to highly subsidised produce in advanced economics. According to MAZ, the national current wheat stock was just below 300 000 tons and would only last up to March this year.
Waiting for the next harvest – scheduled for October – would create an acute shortage on the local market. The deficit in wheat production is attributed to drought and power failures.
Zambia’s annual consumption of wheat is 540 000 tons. It is grown mainly by commercial farmers under irrigation in winter.