ZAMBIA – Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) has objected to proposals by millers calling for an import duty waiver on wheat because it will threaten local production.

Last week, a ZNFU sub-committee held a meeting that was also attended by the Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) and Grain Traders Association of Zambia (GTAZ) that discussed the current levels of wheat stock in the country.

The meeting was informed that local wheat farmers operate in a high-cost environment and the removal of the import duty will give an unfair advantage to highly subsidised producers in advanced economies.

In terms of current stock of wheat, GTAZ and MAZ recorded 31,364.4 and 74,934 tonnes respectively while the ZNFU is still finalising collection of wheat stock data.

According to a statement, ZNFU advised that Zambia should consider adopting the South African system of supporting local production of wheat by maintaining the import duty permanently and revising it upwards whenever global wheat prices drop.

“The meeting discussed the wheat stock position, millers’ request to import 200,000 tonnes of wheat and a waiver of import duty on wheat.

“In response to the millers’ request to import 200,000 metric tonnes of wheat and waiver of import duty on wheat, the farmers however said that they will support importation of 150,000 tonnes as opposed to the 200,000 tonnes of wheat,” it stated.

Regarding the waiver of import duty, farmers and traders objected to the proposal as doing so will jeopardise local production due to unfair competition from wheat imported from countries providing subsidies.

February 13, 2017;