Based on exceptional rains and improved agricultural methods, Zambia’s maize production increased by 7% to 3.62 million tonnes in the 2020/2021 crop season, the greatest in the country’s history, from 3.38 million tonnes the previous year.

Zambia will export over 1 million tonnes of white maize to boost private sector participation and agricultural commodity trading, Agriculture Minister Mtolo Phiri announced recently.

The southern African country predicts a surplus of 1.52 million tonnes of corn, a basic crop in the landlocked country of 18 million people, with carry-over reserves of 840,944 tonnes from the previous harvest.

“There is a need therefore to expand sales through the export of maize and maize products to stimulate private sector participation and create an alternative market for farmers and traders,” Phiri said at a media briefing. “In this regard, I am happy to announce that the government has authorized the export of 1,177,500 metric tonnes of maize,” Phiri said as the country bounces back from a bad 2019 drought, one of its worst in decades. Zambia’s food reserve agency plans to buy a total of 800,000 metric tonnes of maize for strategic reserves.

According to a March report from the humanitarian information portal ReliefWeb, Zambia still faces food insecurity and high chronic malnutrition following the drought.

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