By GIDEON NYENDWA
ZAMBIA has started exporting maize and mealie meal to Burundi and other Great Lakes African countries, the Grain Traders Association of Zambia (GTAZ) have said.
GTAZ executive director Chabuleni Simwinga said maize was being exported to Burundi and other countries and so far there had been overwhelming demand for maize and mealie meal in the Great Lakes region.
Mr Simwinga said GTAZ had been exporting in quotas of 30, 000 tonnes per month, the amount which still could not meet demands in the new market.
He said Congo DR, which had been the traditional export market for Zambia has had at times opted to buy as far as South Africa and Tanzania because of the inconsistencies in supply.
“The quota per month that we are allowed to export is not enough and does not satisfy the demand,” he said.
Mr Simwinga said that there was a speculative shortage of maize bran in those regions and if Zambia could take advantage of the situation it would result in the reduction of prices of mealie meal in the country. He said the prices of mealie meal had remained the same because the government was buying maize at a very high price this year.
“So for prices of mealie meal to drop immediately does not make any economic sense,” he said.
Mr. Simwinga said it was not in order for the government to subsidise consumption because it would be better to subsidise production like the Farmer Input Support Programme.
Zambia had started receiving grain and mealie meal requests from some countries in the Great Lakes region after the country recorded a historic bumper harvest this year.