Zambia, the only southern African country to produce a corn surplus last year, might run out of storage space if a ban on exporting the grain is not lifted, according to local traders.
The country would probably reap 3 million tonnes of its staple corn crop in the current season, according to the Grain Traders Association of Zambia.
When that is added to carry-over stocks remaining from last season, it is unlikely the nation’s storage facilities would be sufficient, association president Chambuleni Simwinga said by telephone on Friday.
“We’re still sitting on an excess of about 230,000 tonnes which has not moved or been traded,” Simwinga said.
Last year, Zambia produced 2.87 million tonnes of corn, which is ground and cooked with water to make a thick porridge, known as nshima, that is eaten with meat or fish. It produced a surplus as neighbors grappled with the worst drought in decades. While Zambian farmers have battled destructive locusts and caterpillars this year, crops are benefiting from good rainfall.
“A large percentage of that maize will end up as carry-over stock,” South Africa-based Commodity Insight Africa Jacques Pienaar analyst said by e-mail on Friday, using another term for corn. “This will add price pressure in the next few months, unless the government opens the border for export by issuing sufficient export permits.”
Zambia placed a ban on exporting corn in April, amid concerns about food security following the severe drought.
The rule is to remain in place until further notice, Zambian Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya said in January.
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