According to Reuters, the Zambian Government announced on Thursday September 4th 2014 that it would buy more than the usual 500,000 tonnes of maize from its small-scale farmers for strategic reserves after the country produced its biggest harvest ever during the 2013/2014 season with a 3.3 million tonnes output.
In July 2014, the Zambia Ministry of Finance had released ZMW 60 million to purchase overstock of Zambia maize from farmers through the state-run Zambia Food Reserve Agency (FRA).
The FRA usually purchases maize overstock from small-scale farmers to sell it to the regional markets, but according to Zambia Minister of Agriculture Hon. Wylbur Simuusa who spoke with Reuters, the agency was quickly overwhelmed with requests from farmers.
The Minister said: “Within one month of opening the maize buying in July the FRA bought the targeted 500,000 tonnes but we can’t just abandon these small-scale farmers”.
Zambia exports maize to other African countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi and Zimbabwe, but these export opportunities are difficult to reach for small-scale farmers, according to the Minister who did not disclose how much more maize the Governement would buy.
The 3.3 million tonnes Zambia produced during the 2013/2014 season represent a 30% raise compared to the 2.5 million tonnes produced in 2012/2013.