Maize exports to raise $13 million

Maize exports to raise $13 millionGOVERNMENT will raise US$13 million from the export of 100,000 metric tonnes of maize to East Africa and the Great Lakes Region.

Food Reserve Agency (FRA) executive director Chola Kafwabulula said the agency was authorised to sell 100,000 metric tonnes of maize to any trader that has capacity to export.

Mr Kafwabulula said at a joint press briefing with the Ministry of Agriculture yesterday that FRA received 42 applications from traders which represented a tonnage of 1,052,210.

“We were authorised to sell 100,000 metric tonnes of maize. We received 42 applications from interested companies; 13 were rejected because they did not meet the criteria.

“We have allocated maize to 29 companies of which 26 are Zambian while three are foreign. The maize to be exported is from the old stock,” he said.

Mr Kafwabulula said FRA wants to open a market beyond the traditional export market to enable farmers to sell their excess maize after the agency buys the authorised 500,000 metric tonnes.

And Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya commended FRA for prioritising Zambian companies in allocating the maize.

She said the ministry has given a policy direction to FRA to procure only 500,000 metric tonnes for strategic stocks.

Ms Siliya said the agency has also been allowed to carry out transactions on a commercial basis.

“Such initiatives are aimed at empowering Zambian exporters. I am impressed that majority of the selected companies are Zambian. The export season will continue for the next 12 months, especially to Kenya, to ensure that even excess maize is exported,” she said.

And speaking at the same briefing, Minister of Finance Felix Mutati said Government will work with FRA and the private sector to create more markets for exports.

He said Government will facilitate export of maize at exit points such as Nakonde and Kasumbalesa border posts to make the process favourable for the traders.

Mr Mutati said Zambia should take advantage of the removal of import duty on Zambian maize in Kenya and export more to enhance revenue for the country.