GENET archive


GMO-FREE PRODUCTS: Zambian Government orders importation of non-GE maize

                                  PART 1

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SOURCE: Zambia Daily Mail, Zambia

AUTHOR: Jerry Munthali


DATE:   20.11.2008

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GOVERNMENT has directed the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to offload maize on the market and facilitate the importation of 100,000 metric tonnes of the product to stabilise the prices of mealie meal.

Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Brian Chituwo said this in a ministerial statement to Parliament yesterday.

?In order to stabilise the mealie meal prices on the market, Government has directed the Food Reserve Agency to offload some maize on the market based on the shortfalls determined by all stakeholders, the millers, traders, farmers and other users,? Dr Chituwo said

He said Government had also directed the FRA to facilitate the importation of 100,000 metric tonnes of non-genetically modified (GMO) maize through private millers and grain traders.

Dr Chituwo said Government had received applications for import permits for 67,000 metric tonnes of non-GMO maize mainly from South Africa.

He said out of 67,000 metric tonnes of maize, the Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) would import 42,000 metric tonnes while the Grain Traders Association of Zambia (GTAZ) would import 25,000 metric tonnes.

Dr Chituwo said there was little non-GMO maize available in South Africa and that the cereal would attract a high premium price

He, however, noted that there was no duty on maize imported from the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

Dr Chituwo said Government would work out a mechanism on duty on maize sourced from outside the region in order to lower the landed price of maize and make the price of mealie meal affordable to the consumers.

He said his ministry had already consulted with the Ministry of Finance and National Planning on the duty waiver.

Dr Chituwo said Government was putting in place measures to inspect the GMO status of the maize and other sanitary requirements

He said Government instructed the Zambia Agricultural Institute to advise importers on these requirements.

The minister said Government informed all applicants to start obtaining import permits and other related documents required for the importation of the maize.

Dr Chituwo also assured the House that the country had 300,000 metric tonnes of maize to last for four months at a national monthly consumption rate of 60,000 metric tonnes

He said MAZ held 47,000 metric tonnes, the GTAZ 45,000 metric tonnes while the FRA held 116, 000 metric tonnes.

Dr Chituwo said the country had a total of 208,000 metric tonnes available.

He said the rest of the maize was being held by other millers and traders who were not members of these associations.

Dr Chituwo said Government would continue monitoring the maize stocks and price of the commodity and assured the nation of food security.

But Chililabombwe MP Esther Banda (PF) wondered whether Dr Chituwo was aware that the smuggling of maize into the Democratic Republic of Congo had continued.

Dr Chituwo said Government had received reports of smuggling through the porous borders.

He said he would ask his colleagues who were responsible to ensure that smuggling was not an everyday thing.

                                  PART 2

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SOURCE: Reuters, South Africa

AUTHOR: Shapi Shacinda


DATE:   11.11.2008

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LUSAKA (Reuters) - Zambia may import up to 100,000 tonnes of white maize to plug a deficit expected in the first quarter of 2009 after experiencing crop failure this year, industry sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

The imports will be the first in over four years when Zambia became a net exporter of white maize, having previously experienced maize deficits due partly to a combination of drought and floods and what industry officials at that time said were poor government agricultural policies.

An industry official told Reuters that the state-run Food Reserve Agency (FRA) only had two months maize cover after Zambia?s total maize output declined to 1.2 million tonnes in the 2006/07 from 1.3 million tonnes in 2007/08 on the back of floods in some parts of the country.

?We are definitely going to import white maize because the FRA only has two months supply which is not adequate to take us to the next harvest (April/May 2009),? the industry source said.

Industry sources said the government had failed to heed warnings by farmers and millers to import maize in June.

?Initially we had estimated that we could need up to 200,000 tonnes but now we project the imports will be between 50,000 tonnes and 100,000 tonnes of maize,? a miller told Reuters.

Zambia?s agriculture, food and fisheries minister Ben Kapita declined to comment on the matter.

?I have no comment to make on the maize issue just now. We will issue a statement later today (Tuesday),? Kapita told Reuters.

It was not immediately clear how much maize the FRA had in stock after it extended the maize marketing season.

?We will only give out the numbers in a week?s time as we are currently doing the verification exercise,? Mwamba Siame, the FRA spokeswoman told Reuters.

?Unfortunately South Africa has run out of non-GMO (genetically modified) maize because Zimbabwe moved in swiftly to import maize from there and we will have to source the maize elsewhere at very high cost,? the industry source said.

Prices of white ground maize meal, the southern African country?s staple food, have in recent weeks risen to about $16 per 25 kg in some parts of the country from around $10 a few weeks ago, state media reported.

In the last three agricultural seasons, Zambia turned its maize production around and became a net exporter of maize on the back of good rains and a government policy to provide subsidized fertilizers and seed to peasant farmers.

The policy won international praise for the late Zambia President Levy Mwanawasa, who died in France last August after suffering a second stroke.

Mwanawasa was replaced by Rupiah Banda, who won a controversial presidential vote in October after narrowly beating his main opposition rival Michael Sata.



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