….as government targets to harness the regional markets by producing over 3,000,000 metric tonnes of Maize next year.
ZAMBIANS have wondered how for decades, the more than 600,000 metric tonnes of Mealie Meal and Maize export market in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has not been exploited for the benefit of the hardworking local farmers.
And as such, the news on the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding for the 2020 budget year that covers the massive export of not only Maize but Wheat Flour, Rice, Cassava, Sugar, Beans, Tilapia, Chickens, Irish Potatoes, Cooking Oil, Cement, Lime and Iron Sheets has been received with great excitement and optimism.
Government is targeting to produce not less than 3,000,000 metric tonnes of Maize in the 2019/2020 farming season. The production target is a first step towards the attainment of a target of more than 5,000,000 metric tonnes production while ensuring reasonable returns to the Zambian farmers.
Zambia’a Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon Joseph Malanji said at the signing ceremony in Lusaka, today, that Zambia and the DRC are Sister countries and the SADC principles entails good collaboration with neighboring countries.
“As you are aware, Zambia was the Head of the Security Cooperation during the recently held elections in the DRC and I was the Head of the mission that came to your country for the observation of the last election. And we are very happy that the transition was peaceful.
“As you are aware, one of the principles of SADC is good collaboration with neighbouring countries such as the DRC. The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding pertaining to Maize and Mealie Meal exports to the DRC starting from the 2019/2021 farming Season is a sign of good cooperation and we are grateful to both delegations for the job well done in reaching a consensus,” said Hon Malanji who spoke in French.
Meanwhile, Minister of Agriculture Hon Michael Katambo says exports under the MoU will only commence in 2020 because Zambia was coming out of a bad farming season owing to poor rains in the 2018/2019 farming season.
And Minister Katambo says the MoU will ensure a well structured trade regime between the Two countries and create opportunities for Zambia to expand its trade in maize and Mealie Meal with the DRC and consequently, earn the country more foreign exchange.