Govt to regulate issuance of export permits for maize – Mtolo Phiri
...says the move is aimed at protecting the country’s food basket
By NATION REPORTER
GOVERNMENT is going to ensure that it regulates the issuance of export permits of mealie meal and maize in a bid to protect the country’s food basket, Agriculture Minister Reuben Mtolo Phiri has said.
Mr Phiri told Parliament that Government has never and will never stop the export of mealie meal or even maize but it was regulating because Zambia was considered as the top producer of grade one non-GMO maize in the region.
He was responding to Petauke MP Emmanuel Banda who rose on a matter of serious public importance to know why Government was taking long to issue export permits
He said Government was under stress and that was why they were trying to regulate the export of maize because if left unchecked the country would lose out.
“Government has stopped the issuance of export permits but what is happening is that we are controlling in order to curtail smuggling which is very rampant,” Mr Phiri said.
Mr Phiri said if Government was going to be careless then the country would run out of stock and it would be blamed.
He said goverment would not hinder those that had been given export permits and that it would not stop issuing.
Mr Phiri said collective individuals needed to protect the country’s food stock because if nothing was done there would be a disaster.
He said Government was worried about the cross border trade because it had given enough stock continuously to millers hence there should be no shortage.
“We have two months which we need to be very careful with because if we don’t then we are going to have a serious shortage,” he said.
He said government had enough stock that would last up to the next harvest.
Meanwhile over 50 Tanzanian maize traders have been stuck in the country from November last year after government allegedly refused to issue them with export permits of the grain for unexplained reasons.
The traders indicated that the government was taking too long to issue an export permit for them to export the 12,000 metric tonnes of maize to Tanzania.