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October 07, 2012

Zambia to double maize reserve to one million tonnes

"Instead of buying 500,000 tonnes of maize as strategic reserves we will increase that to 1 million tonnes so that we are in control of the situation," said Emmanuel Chenda, Zambia's minister of agriculture in August.

The boosting of the strategic reserves through locally purchased maize was to take place in the four months from July to October this year, he said. October is the beginning of the new rain and cropping season.

Zambia will also limit exports to keep prices of the staple food low as global grain prices surge, the minister said.

Chenda also said that the government will centralise the issuance of maize export permits to closely monitor sales outside the country. Zambia exports maize to countries within Africa, including South Africa.

The price of maize in Zambia is currently around 65,000 kwacha ($13.27) per 50 kg bag.

Zambia's maize output declined by about 6 percent to 2.8 million tonnes in the 2011/2012 season from 3 million tonnes last year.

Chenda said, however, Zambia still had a huge maize surplus because of carry-over stocks from last year but would be careful to ensure that local prices remained under control.


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