Zimbabwe can still import maize from private Zambian traders, who have large quantities of grain reserves for export, despite an export ban by the national food agency.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Executive director of Grain Traders’ Association of Zambia (GTAZ), Chambuleni Simwinga, said the neighbouring country’s Food Reserve Agency (FRA), which is mandated to secure strategic reserves for the nation and at times sell its maize to the local or export market, is currently supplying Zambian millers only.
Simwinga said the suspension of maize exports by FRA did not mean that other countries in the region could not import from Zambia.
“FRA is only supplying Zambian millers with maize and have stopped selling to local traders of the export market. However, Zambia is still exporting maize to Zimbabwe, Malawi, Namibia and the Democratic Republic of Congo through the private sector as they are trading companies in Zambia that have substantial stocks of maize readily available for export to Zimbabwe,” Simwinga said.
GTAZ said it offered genetically modified organism-free maize, which was cheaper compared to that from South Africa.
South African Futures Exchange show that maize prices are $309 per metric tonne compared to Zambia’s $250.
“Zambia is by far the best option Zimbabwe has in order to meet any potential shortfall in maize and its readily available,” GTAZ said.
Once a net exporter of grains, Zimbabwe faces a serious food shortage, with reports indicating that the country has only eight weeks’ supply of maize left in its strategic grain silos.