Zambia will export more than 1 million tonnes of white maize in a bid to stimulate private sector involvement and enhance trade in agricultural commodities, Agriculture Minister Mtolo Phiri said on Friday. Zambia’s maize production rose 7% to 3.62 million tonnes in the 2020/2021 crop season from 3.38 million tonnes in the previous one, the highest in the nation’s history on the back of good rains and improved farming methods. With carry-over stocks of 840,944 tonnes of maize from the previous harvest, the southern African country anticipates a surplus of 1.52 million tonnes of corn, a staple food in the landlocked country of 18 million people.
“There is need therefore to expand sales through export of maize and maize products in order to stimulate private sector participation and create an alternative market for farmers and traders,” Phiri said at a media briefing. “In this regard, I am happy to announce that the government has authorized the export of 1,177,500 metric tonnes of maize,” Phiri said as the country bounces back from a bad 2019 drought, one of its worst in decades. Zambia’s food reserve agency plans to buy a total of 800,000 metric tonnes of maize for strategic reserves.
According to a March report from humanitarian information portal ReliefWeb, Zambia still faces food insecurity and high chronic malnutrition following the drought.