TRYNESS TEMBO, Lusaka
THE Policy Monitoring and Research Centre (PMRC) anticipates the market price for maize in the Southern Africa region in the 2016/17 marketing season to reduce further from the current US$290 per tonne due to the expected increase in production in the region.
Recently, Government lifted the export ban on maize and maize products to encourage private sector participation.
PMRC executive director Bernadette Deka said the market price for export of maize within the Southern African Development Community region may be affected by the projected rise in maize yields.
Ms Deka said in a statement availed to the Daily Mail last week that the surplus in the region provides an opportunity for farmers to turn to the northern region such as Katanga province in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania.
“Maize traders are encouraged to take advantage of the price differentials between surplus and deficit countries which provide significant incentives for both formal and informal maize trade,” she said.
Ms Deka also urged Government to establish cross-border trade reforms that will benefit the private sector and boost volumes of products that will be exported, which will ultimately benefit the consumers.
She said currently, the trading environment is characterised by a lack of harmonisation in cross-border trade, standards and significant non-tariff barriers such as domestic regulations.
On the other hand, Ms Deka called on the private sector to invest in agricultural infrastructure such as suitable storage facilities and warehousing to enable them to capitalise on market opportunities during lean seasons.
Zambia is projected to record another bumper harvest from 2.8 million tonnes in the 2015/16 farming season to 3.6 million in the 2016/17 season.
Meanwhile, PMRC has called on farmers to heed Government’s call to use co-operatives for maize trade to enable them to have the bargaining power and reduce the risk of being exploited.