KABANDA CHULU, Lusaka
AS GOVERNMENT lifts the ban on exports of maize, Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) president Jervis Zimba has called for the removal of 10 percent surcharge on exports to enable farmers to benefit from the measure.
On Wednesday, Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya announced that Zambia will produce 3,606, 549 tonnes of maize from last season’s 2,873,491 metric tonnes and the lifting of the export ban of maize and its products.
In an interview yesterday, Mr Zimba said the 10 export levy on maize should also be removed since it is charged on producers and not buyers or traders.
“We commend farmers for recording another bumper harvest, and we also commend Government for lifting the ban on exports of maize but the 10 percent surcharge on maize exports will still punish farmers, who are still battling with punitive levies from the councils,” he said in an interview.
Commenting on ZNFU’s proposal, Ms Siliya said Government doesn’t work in isolation.
“My ministry will soon hold discussions with the Ministry of Finance over the 10 percent surcharge on maize exports. Actually, we will also talk to other ministries [Commerce and Local Government] to understand issues that hinder farmer productivity,” she said.
Meanwhile, Zambia Agricultural Commodities Exchange (ZAMACE) executive director Jacob Mwale has advised farmers to use other marketing platforms such as registering with the exchange for the warehouse receipt system (WRS) to enable their crops to be sold in the region.
Mr Mwale said farmers should be given credit for the development.
“But we urge them to utilise other marketing platforms where there are several instruments to market crops locally and regionally. At ZAMACE, we have the WRS, and once they register, their grains will be stored and be traded on their behalf, and they can also redeem those receipts for cash at the bank against the stored crop,” he said in a separate interview.