On Tuesday, April 11, the Zambian government declared a maize crisis, jeopardizing the country’s food security. The country’s Ministry of Finance and National Planning declared the shortage barely a month after Kenya signed a contract to grow maize in South Africa. The Zambian government stated in a statement that, like Kenya, it would import duty-free maize.
“The finance minister Situmbeko Musokotwane has signed a statutory instrument to provide for the suspension of duty on maize flour. The measure has been implemented to help address the shortage of maize flour in some parts of the country,” the statement read in part.
Musokotwane stated that lifting the tariff would improve the supply of Zambia’s staple product.Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mithika Linturi signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with his Zambian colleague Mtolo Phiri in March 2023 to establish large-scale maize production in Zambia for sale to Kenya.
“Kenya will be signing a contract with local farmers in Zambia in the next month that will see them grow maize for export to the Kenyan market,” the CS announced after the MoU signing.
“The Government of Zambia has given us an opportunity to ship maize from Zambia to Kenya,” the CS announced at the time.
According to the agreement, the two countries would enter into a contractual relationship in which Zambian farmers will grow maize primarily for export to Kenya.
The deal called for 20,000 to 40,000 hectares of land to be set aside for cultivating maize for the Kenyan market.
Linturi revealed why the government chose Zambia: “The cost of production in Zambia is quite low, as I will be paid Ksh40,000 per tonne.”