GOVERNMENT should not export excess maize grain as there is a threat to national security following poor rainfall during This year’s farming season, says Civil Society for Poverty Reduction board chairperson John Lijimu.
Mr. Lijimu said the Ministry of Agriculture must not be too quick to export maize when there was looming food shortage in the country owing to the unprecedented poor rainfall pattern that has hit the region.
Mr Lijimu said CSPR was concerned with Government’s plans to export what they term as excess grain in storage in anticipation of another bumper harvest in the 2015 harvest.
“We received with shock the statement from Government that they wish to export excess maize in anticipation for another bumper harvest, because they do not seem to be reading the times, to be planning ahead.
“Our projection is that we are experiencing a serious drop in the 2015 crop harvest owing to unprecedented poor rainfall pattern,” he said.
He said the Government should tread carefully on issues of food security to avoid putting the country in a compromised situation.
Last week, Minister of Agriculture Given Lubinda in his ministerial statement to Parliament said the Government was already relishing strategy to get rid of the excess maize at the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) in order to create room for the 2015 crop.
Mr Lubinda said the move was meant to influence the downward adjustment of mealie meal price which have soured over some time with a 25 kilogramme bag selling as high as K80 in some places.
The minister said there were sufficient stocks of maize in storage to meet domestic needs with significant stocks surplus for export.
Recently, Mr Lubinda announced a minimum reduction of K4 per 25 kg bag of mealie meal which has not made any impact on the market pricing attributed to high production costs by the millers.