Govt lifts mealie meal export ban

By Staff Reporter

AGRICULTURE minister Michael Katambo has lifted the ban on the export of mealie meal but will apply a regulated export regime.

And Katambo announced that the country had over 700, 000 metric tonnes of maize and that it is convinced of national food security.

Katambo indicated that the regulated export regime had so far worked well to facilitate maize seed exports through the eastern and southern African region.

“The government has, with immediate effect, lifted the ban on mealie meal exports,” Katambo disclosed.

“It should be noted that the millers who have accessed the government subsidised maize from the FRA (Food Reserve Agency) will not be allowed to get import permits for mealie meal.”

The minister also revealed that mealie meal prices in the country would remain stable.

He urged farmers, millers and grain traders to take advantage of “this market window” and close deals with importers in close border markets, particularly those from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Katambo said State security agencies would remain alert in strategic cross-border points to ensure that illegal mealie meal exports were countered.

He also explained that the decision by the government to lift the ban on mealie meal exports was arrived at in close consultation by the Ministry of Agriculture with key stakeholders.

The key stakeholders, according to the minister, included the Grain Traders Association of Zambia, Zambia National Farmers’ Union, FRA, Millers Association of Zambia and the Zambia Agricultural Commodity Exchange (ZAMACE).

“Having established that the country currently has in excess of 700, 000 metric tonnes of maize grain stocks, government is convinced that the country is food secure and that mealie meal prices will remain fairly stable,” said Katambo.