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December 06, 2011

Bumper maize harvest a storage, ltransportation headache in Zambia

by Hicks Sikazwe

After exporting almost 500,000 metric tonnes of maize to other Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries and in East Africa, Zambia is still saddled with more than one million metric tonnes of the grain.

In the period between November last year and October this year, the country, through the Food Reserve Agency (FRA), exported maize to Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya, Botswana, Burundi and South Africa.

However, FRA says much of the surplus is still stuck in outlaying provinces. The Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (Tazara) and the Railway Systems of Zambia (RSZ) have been engaged to expedite the movement of the harvest. RSZ would haul 15,000 metric tonnes, and Tazara will transport 12,000 tonnes. In the last export Zambia earned a total of $86 million (P626.9 million) from the almost 500,000 tonnes.

According to FRA 21 percent of the export went to Zimbabwe, 16 percent to DRC, eight percent to Kenya and the remaining five percent was shared by Botswana, Burundi and South Africa.

In the recent years the country has been enjoying maize bumper harvests. The two-month old government of president Michael Sata has also initiated a reduction in the price of mealie-meal.


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