ZAMBIA – India’s rice export ban will negatively affect the supply of the commodity, triggering higher prices on the domestic market according to the county’s financial analyst Trevor Hambayi.

Speaking in an interview with Money FM News, Hambayi noted that since Zambia heavily relies on rice imports from India for its local market, the ban announced on 20th July would affect the supply of rice in the country for both regular and basmati rice.

The panic follows India’s decision to ban exports of non-basmati white rice, which constitutes about 25% of India’s total rice exports, in an effort to control rising prices and boost availability before the upcoming El Niño weather event.

In the recent FAO Food Index report, the rice price index increased by 2.8% during July and 19.7% during the year to reach its highest nominal level since September 2011, a spike attributed to the ban.

However, Mr. Hambayi stated that any ban on the export of commodities by exporting countries presents an opportunity for Zambia to increase its capacity to grow its products.

He stressed the need for the country to find ways to promote the consumption of locally grown rice and be able to meet the demand on the market, which is likely to trigger an increase in the price of the commodity.

“But what usually happens when there is a ban is that it presents an opportunity for the country to increase its capacity to grow its products. So we all have to find ways to be able to use our locally grown Mongu rice to be able to meet the demand in the market, Hambayi noted.

Mr. Hambayi adds that Zambia should not be surprised that India has banned rice exports because this was expected as soon the Russia-Ukraine war had continued beyond the few months that they had indicated that the global shortages in products is going to come a year or two years later.

According to the analysts, India’s rice export ban could ripple across global rice markets and millions are expected to be impacted, with Asian and African consumers set to bear the biggest brunt.

FRA pays K90 million (US$ 4.6M) to farmers in Muchinga

Meanwhile, after promising to buy 65,000 metric tonnes (2.6 million x 50 kg bags) of maize from farmers in Muchinga, the Zambian Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has released US$ 4.6M (K90 million) to pay farmers who started selling their maize to the agency three weeks ago.

FRA Muchinga Province Standards and Quality Officer, Robinson Nyambe say the disbursement of funds follows that farmers have been responding well to the pronouncement of selling maize to FRA in a bid to ensure food security in the country.

He said the government is committed to paying farmers on time, adding that the early disbursement of funds to farmers is a motivational factor.

“The farmers here in Muchinga have been very productive especially in the 2022-2023 farming season because they know that government is quick to pay them”, he said

Muchinga Province Minister Henry Sikazwe has commended the operations of FRA in the region, stressing that government holds high significance to matters of food security in the country.

He, however, urged farmers who have been paid so far to utilize the money prudently through investing in agriculture as well as increasing productivity in the next farming season.

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