THERE are 600, 433 metric tonnes of maize in stock to meet national demand up to August this year, Agriculture permanent secretary Julius Shawa announced in Lusaka yesterday.
Speaking at a media briefing, Mr Shawa said the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) was holding a total of 452, 084 metric tonnes of maize, while the private sector stocks stand at 148, 350 metric tonnes.
Mr. Shawa however said Government will only allow exports of maize and maize products after meeting domestic demand and if there would be a surplus because priority was to ensure food security.
And Mr. Shawa explained that Government would soon come up with Statutory Instrument (SI) which would spell out measures on how management of maize grain and its products would be conducted.
Government had constituted the inter-agency teams in all 10 provinces in the past one week to go around the country to verify physical stocks of maize held by both private sector and the Food Reserve Agency.
He said Government was concerned with issues of hoarding, panic-buying and high prices of mealie meal and smuggling of maize and mealie meal. Mr Shawa said there was need to ensure that exporters of maize grain followed the required procedures and documentation and the guidelines would be in the Statutory Instrument.
Government suspended the exportation of maize and maize products last week to safeguard national food security in the county.
Recently, scores of truckloads of maize were impounded in Chipata, Nyimba, Kafue and Copperbelt by security wings mostly for having no valid export permits.