ZAMBIA – The Zambia Ministry of Agriculture has announced that it will no longer allow maize and mealie exports following the country’s maize and mealie meal shortage.
The announcement was made by Jack Mwiimbu, the Home Affairs, and Internal Security Minister during a media briefing monitored by the Zambian Business Times (ZBT).
The announcement comes after a recent decree by the government to allow the export of maize to neighbors, particularly Kenya.
However, Mwiimbu said despite the policy of the Government to allow exports, the Government is currently not exporting any maize or mealie meals because the country has a deficit.
In defense, Mwiimbu has explained that “The policy is that we are going to allow exports if there is a surplus but currently, there is no surplus and as a result, we are not giving any export permit to anyone to export maize out of the country because there is a deficit”.
“Our concentration currently is to ensure that Zambia is Maize secure and if after the harvesting season, we realize more maize that can be exported we will actualize the policy that is still in place.” He added.
Speaking at the same event, Defence Minister Ambrose Lufuma said food security in the country is on top of the government’s agenda because we know food security means national security which means peace to the environment.
We have enough maize to last until next season-FRA
Meanwhile, the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has assured that Zambia presently has over 300,000 metric tons of maize in strategic reserves which can last up to the next harvest period.
Kelvin Hambwezya, the FRA board chairperson made the declaration urging Zambians not to panic and to stop buying mealie meals in bulk because it is unnecessary.
“As FRA, we have sufficient maize stocks to last this country up to the next harvest season. We are moving some maize from areas of surplus to where there is a deficit so that we can meet the demand in those areas,” Mr. Hambwezya stated.
Recently, Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane, Zambia’s Finance Minister said that Zambia will be importing maize to supplement shortfalls occasioned by a poor harvest last season.
Dr. Situmbeko was speaking in an interview with Nation Africa on the sidelines of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings in Washington DC.
However, Hambwezya has disputed the claim adding that the deficit panic is a result of some deceitful citizens who have created a perception that there is an acute shortage of mealie meals, yet the country has adequate stocks of maize.