By Aaron Chiyanzo
GOVERNMENT has allowed the Zambia Cooperative Federation to export 100, 000 metric tonnes of maize to Malawi in order to raise money to sustain their operations, ZCF director general James Chirwa has confirmed.
Mr Chirwa revealed to the Daily Nation that the 100, 000 metric tonnes of maize is being exported under a special government to government deal between the heads of State of Zambia and Malawi.
The Nyasa Times of Malawi newspaper has reported that over 1,000 metric tonnes of maize from a total of 100, 000 metric tonnes purchased from Zambia for food insecurity response has arrived in Malawi.
According to the Malawian newspaper, the maize is being stored in Admarc warehouses and will be distributed in the central and northern region of Malawi for sale.
Admarc chief executive officer, Foster Mulumbe, said the process of transporting the maize is going on smoothly and that he remains hopeful of Malawian transporters getting involved in the transportation process although they had missed out on the latest consignment that was being offloaded.
“I have been assured by the supplier that they are in the process of clearing a list of Malawian transporters with the Ministry of Agriculture in Zambia. Therefore, the next consignment will include Malawian transporters and chances are high that the ratio maybe more than 50 percent,” Mr Mulumbe said.
The Malawian government has purchased a total of 300, 000 metric tonnes from Romania and Zambia in a bid to avert the food crisis the country is facing after last season’s crop failed due to adverse weather.
Mr Chirwa said that so far, over 1,000 metric tonnes of maize has been exported and that ZCF hopes to transport the rest of the consignment by early next year.
“ZCF was asked to export maize to Malawi after a government to government deal by the two heads of state and we are buying this maize from the private farmers and those holding maize if the price is good,” he said.
Mr Chirwa could not disclose the price at which the maize was being sold in Malawi and how much would be raised from the sale.
He also assured that transporters from both countries were benefiting from the transaction and that the profits would be used to sustain the operations of ZCF.
Early this year Government banned the export of maize and all maize products except those being exported on humanitarian grounds.
Agriculture permanent secretary Julius Shawa explained that the ban was aimed at stabilizing mealie meal prices across the country.