NOMSA NKANA, Lusaka
EAST African Grain Council (EAGC) is optimistic that the Zambia Commodity Exchange (ZAMACE) platform will boost trade relations between Zambia and East Africa.
EAGC executive director Gerald Masila said the East African region has a great demand for local commodities, providing an opportunity for Zambia to supply grains and cereal to that region.
Mr Masila said in an interview when ZAMACE hosted-regional grain trade facilitation forum last week that the gathering provided an opportunity for Zambia to supply East Africa as Zambia is a big supplier and producer of grains and cereal.
“We are here hosting a trade facilitation programme that has brought together buyers from the East African region including Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi and others.
“In this forum, buyers from the Eastern African region are meeting sellers from Zambia and they are negotiating and signing transaction agreements for supply of grains and cereals out of Zambia to East Africa… This is the beginning of a long journey that will see a total change in trade relations between Zambia and East Africa,” he said.
Mr Masila said the assurances that Minister of Finance Felix Mutati gave to the business community that Government will support the transactions and also address the bottlenecks that may come along the way of trading will further boost trade relations.
“We are, therefore, glad that the minister [of Finance] has confirmed that the export bans are a thing of the past and that Zambia has changed orientation so that this country will be looking at agriculture [sector] and agricultural produce as an export opportunity,” he said.
Mr Masila said Government’s support will also give an occasion to the Zambian farmer to earn an income through access of a larger market to the Eastern Africa region as opposed to being restricted only to the national market.