With two weeks remaining before the planting window for early maize closes, the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU), Grain Traders Association of Zambia (GTAZ) and the Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) have finally agreed on terms and the cultivation can begin.
MoA and all value chain stakeholders held various positions but ultimately resolved that the major interest was to ensure the country’s food security and to achieve this an all win situation had to be arrived at.
The meeting, held on Wednesday 9th September 2019, which attracted high-level representation from the MoA resolved that it would be imprudent to import maize when local farmers had the capacity to produce this on a commercial basis and land it to the meals even cheaper than the imported commodity.
The meeting resolved issues of whom the off-takers will be, the pricing of the commodity landed at the mills, and issues of electricity supply to propel irrigation of the commodity and induced drying so that it lands early on the market.
Taken into account was the cost of the final product, mealie meal, which the meeting agreed should be reasonably affordable by all Zambians.
Farmers are expected to plunge into maize cultivation immediately, but submit registration reports to the ZNFU on a weekly basis, how many hectares they expect to plant and the expected yield. For the early maize project, a total of 120, 000 metric tones is the expected harvest but may exceed this.