ZAMBIA has exported 85 000 tonnes of white maize to Zimbabwe after recording a surplus in the 2005/6 season, state media reported on Wednesday.
President Levy Mwanawasa said an additional 15 000 tonnes of maize would be exported
before the end of the year to enable the state Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to purchase more maize held by peasant farmers, state television said. Mwanawasa said the FRA was looking for another southern African country that would buy the maize.
“The 85 000 tonnes of maize exported will earn Zambia US$20 million, which the president said should be ploughed back into agriculture activities,” the report said.
Mwanawasa has been touting the success of his economic programmes, which has included helping Zambia to achieve a grain surplus after years of intermittent food shortages, ahead of presidential and legislative elections yesterday.
In July, Mwanawasa announced that he had allowed the FRA to export 100 000 tonnes of maize so it could buy more local maize still held by farmers and also to ensure it paid back loans it obtained from commercial banks. Mwanawasa banned maize exports in 2004 after previous exports during a surplus season in 2003 forced the southern African country to import maize when it faced a deficit due to drought in 2005. — Reuter.