ZAMBIA – Zambia Agricultural Commodity Exchange (ZAMACE) says there is need to strengthen food trade linkages between surplus and deficit countries if Africa is to address food shortages through intra-regional trade facilitation, reports Daily Mail

ZAMACE executive director Jacob Mwale has also called for a clear policy direction from governments in the region to enable grain trade in the region, calling for removal of taxation on policy exports.

Presently, the Eastern African region is experiencing a shortage in availability of food grains including maize, soybeans and other grains.

“There is need for policy consistency in the agriculture market as opposed to a situation where today you have a ban and tomorrow it’s lifted. The assurance by Government will boost confidence to market players and promote trade,” he said.

Mr Mwale said most countries in the southern region have maize this year and the demand is coming from East Africa.

“At the moment, the demand for maize is from East Africa, namely Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania.

In southern Africa, Zimbabwe has sufficient maize but they may need something from Zambia later in the season,” he said.

While, on the other hand, Zambia is expected to record sufficient tradable surplus this year following a record crop production of 3.6 million metric tonnes of maize.

ZAMACE and the East African Grain Council this week hosted a regional grain trade business to business symposium in Lusaka.

The objective of the trade forum was to strengthen food trade linkages between Southern Africa and Eastern African countries.

The other key objective of the business-to-business forum was to convene sellers and buyers of commodities from the Southern and Eastern Africa, regions to network and execute trade deals.

“Most African countries are not food-self-sufficient, thus imports are essential to feed their ever-growing populations.

Nevertheless, the intra-regional trade is very low in Africa, and this is attributed to the complexity of trading and logistics with neighbouring countries,” he said.

He said there is need for Zambia and other surplus countries to utilise the marketing opportunities prevailing in East Africa, where there is a shortage of food grains.

“In Zambia, projections are that a bumper harvest will be recorded in maize production. This shows that there is need to promote intra-African trade in agricultural commodities.

“The Malabo Declaration clearly articulates the need to promote agricultural productivity and intra-regional trade.

Therefore, we need to seek sustainable ways to address the food shortages through regional trade facilitation,” Mr Mwale said.

June 28, 2017.