Tuesday, 28 February 2012
Zambia rejects maize imports
Zambia's Vice-President has said that the country will not need to import maize to support those areas affected by dry weather because sufficient reserves have been prepositioned. Dry weather has caused crop failure in several Southern African countries and has left over a million people in need of food assistance in Zimbabwe. Zambia's grain reserve system is a major buyer of smallholder farmer produced maize but it has not been without controversy. During 2011 many smallholder farmers were forced to wait months for payment for their maize. Some in the country have also criticised the system saying that it is unnecessary and undermines the free market. The Dr Scott also encouraged small farmers to diversify their crops, rather than relying only on maize. Perhaps the grain reserve system should be used to encourage diversification.