KABANDA CHULU, Lusaka
ZAMBIA Agricultural Commodity Exchange (ZAMACE) says there is need to strengthen food trade linkages between surplus and deficit countries if Africa is to address food shortages through intra-regional trade facilitation.
Presently, the Eastern African region is experiencing a shortage in availability of food grains including maize, soybeans and other grains.
While, on the other hand, Zambia is expected to record sufficient tradable surplus this year following a record crop production of 3.6 million metric tonnes of maize.
It is for this reason that ZAMACE and the East African Grain Council are hosting a regional grain trade business to business symposium in Lusaka.
In an interview ahead of the event, which takes place today, ZAMACE executive director Jacob Mwale said the objective of the trade forum is to strengthen food trade linkages between Southern Africa and Eastern African countries’.
Th other key objective of the business-to-business forum is to convene sellers and buyers of commodities from the Southern and Eastern Africa, regions to network and execute trade deals.
“Most African countries are not food-self-sufficient, thus imports are essential to feed their ever-growing populations. Nevertheless, the intra-regional trade is very low in Africa, and this is attributed to the complexity of trading and logistics with neighbouring countries,” he said.
He said there is need for Zambia and other surplus countries to utilise the marketing opportunities prevailing in East Africa, where there is a shortage of food grains.
“In Zambia, projections are that a bumper harvest will be recorded in maize production. This shows that there is need to promote intra-African trade in agricultural commodities.
“The Malabo Declaration clearly articulates the need to promote agricultural productivity and intra-regional trade. Therefore, we need to seek sustainable ways to address the food shortages through regional trade facilitation,” Mr Mwale said.