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BURUNDI EYES ZAMBIAN MAIZE

By AARON CHIYANZO

BURUNDI and other Great Lakes African countries are seeking mealie meal from Zambia, the Grain Traders Association of Zambia (GTAZ) have disclosed.

GTAZ executive director Chabuleni Simwinga said Zambia was this marketing season expected to earn substantial amounts of foreign exchange from maize and mealie meal exports because of the good harvest.

Mr Simwinga said the country was expected to have enough maize to sustain the country and enough for export.

He said in an interview that apart from the Congo DR which had been the traditional export country of maize and mealie meal for Zambia, Burundi and other Great Lakes countries want mealie meal from here.

Mr Simwinga said with such a large market and good harvest the country experienced, it was likely going to be a good season where all stakeholders win if well handled.

He expressed confidence that with the good will Government had so far shown to boost the agriculture sector, more positives were expected for the country.

Mr Simwinga said even prices for maize products were likely to remain stable because costs of doing business had remained stable for all players.

“This is a good blessed year, everyone will be happy. The trader will be able to buy maize cheaply and sale to the miller at a good price which will ensure stable prices for mealie meal,” Mr Simwinga said.

Mr Simwinga said Zambian traders were ready for the Burundi market once modalities were put in place.

He assured that the national stocks committee were monitoring the quality of maize in the country to ensure that there was enough for national consumption even as the export window was open.

“They are ensuring that we still have enough carryover stock for any eventuality,” said Mr Simwinga.

He said illegal exports of maize to Burundi have always been there and that the country only needed to formalise the trade so that it benefits reasonably from the trade. And Mr Simwinga said traders have so far exported about 25, 000 tonnes of maize from the 40, 000 tonnes allocation and were yet to export another 15, 000 tonnes.

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