Government says maize will now be a commercial crop to allow companies and large-scale farmers to grow for export purposes with the view to bring foreign currency into the economy.
According to ministries of Trade and Agriculture, this in in line with the new Control of Goods Act, which lifted a ban on maize exports by introducing export controls through licensing model.
Ministry of Trade director of trade Clement Kumbemba told a multi-stakeholder meeting on the Right to Food organised by the Centre for Social Concern (CfSC) last Wednesday that the country can benefit more from maize as a commercial crop.
He was reacting to queries by advocates of the Right to Food Bill on why government was allowing maize exports at a time local market supplies were low and prices high, with Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) still rationing maize to 20 kilogramme per buyer.
But Kumbemba said the maize cleared for export was private traders tonnage and the decision was in line with an anticipated bumper harvest this year which will need storage space.
He said: “It is government’s plan to allow citizens, companies and large commercial farmers to start producing maize commercially for export purposes. Maize will now be among commercial crops to benefit the economy.
“I can tell you that banks are now willing to finance commercial maize production because under the new Control of Goods Act, maize is no longer banned from exports but controlled through licensing.”
He said with cash crops such as tobacco performing poorly, government is looking at maize exports as an opportunity that can complement export earnings.
CfSC executive director James Ngahy,