Agri-business

‘Maize suppliers need imperative integration’

KELLY NJOMBO, Lusaka
THE Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute says maize suppliers in the region need imperative integration to market the commodity to meet demand and trade requirements set on parity prices to promote economic growth.
IAPRI says governments and regional bodies should support the development of professional agencies to generate and disseminate accurate crop production forecasts and price information.
According to study conducted by the research institute, farmers require price incentives and tools to increase yields to unlocking agricultural potential in the region.
“The current maize market situation in the region, where supplies are incapable of meeting demand requirements and maize prices frequently trade outside the bounds set by import and export parity prices is not an effective recipe for promoting economic growth, poverty reduction and improved food security.
“Based on consultation, governments can announce a clear set of guidelines and interventions in the maize market for the coming season and to be effective, these must be made in advance of the main maize harvest,” the institute says.
It says with additional revenue generated through maize trade and decreased expenditure on strategic reserve management, governments can explore alternative means for managing national strategic reserve stocks, and that the private sector should also invest in road and port infrastructure to facilitate trade.
IAPRI says if maize prices rise above an agreed level, governments may initiate imports, release government grain stocks onto the market, or waive import licensing fees, but only if prices reach a predetermined level then trade restrictions will be imposed.
The institute observed that if at a predetermined time, national prices are within tolerable and predetermined ranges, governments can forego their options on the maize and allow the private sector to sell without restrictions in the domestic and regional market.




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