April 17, 2012
African Food Reserve Agency earns US$70 million corn exports
Out of the 442,294 tonnes of corn exports to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) regions, the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has realised a total of US$70 million, executive director David Matongo has said.
Matongo said the exports represented 49% of the total grain sales. In response to a Press query he said the Agency has in addition, sold 460,492 tonnes of corn worth US$68 million to local millers, stock feed producers, Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) under the Office of the Vice-President and local communities in rural areas, representing 51% of the total sales.
Countries exported to include Zimbabwe representing 29.09%, South Africa 10.39%, Congo DR 3.97% and Kenya, 1.64%. Others are Namibia taking in 1.26%, Mozambique with 0.99%, Burundi 0.85% and Rwanda with 0.50%. Figures for the Botswana exports stood at 0.20%, Madagascar 0.08% and Malawi with 0.04%.
FRA had set aside 600,000 tonnes of corn as buffer stock for strategic reserves before the beginning of the crop marketing season. This follows corn sales of 902,492 tonnes on both the local and international markets as at March 31, 2012.
The Government in October last year instructed the FRA to sell 1,067,000 tonnes of corn to avoid wastage of the crop. With a population of about 13 million people, Zambia has a monthly consumption rate of 80,000 tonnes. This meant that the strategic reserve of 600,000 tonnes is more than sufficient to meet the country's food requirements for at least seven months.
This level of food security is four months beyond the standard three months food security level of 240,000 tonnes stipulated by the FRA Act of 1995.