Government has lifted the maize and mealie meal export ban, Minister of Agriculture Michael Katambo has announced.

In a statement, Sunday, Katambo said the decision was made after wide consultations with stakeholders.

And Katambo said the country had enough Maize stock for local consumption, assuring that mealie meal prices would remain fairly stable.

“I wish to announce to the nation and advise Market players and indeed members of the general public that the government of the Republic of Zambia, under the leadership of H.E President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, has with immediate effect lifted the ban on mealie meal exports,” Katambo said.

“This decision was arrive at in close consultation by the ministry of Agriculture with key stakeholders that include the Grain Traders Association of Zambia (GTAZ), the Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ), the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU), Zambia Agricultural Commodity Exchange (ZAMCE) as well as the Food Reserve Agency (FRA). Having established that the country currently has in excess of 700,000 metric tonnes of Maize grain stock, government is convinced that the country is food secure and that mealie meal prices will remain fairly stable.”

However, Katambo said the government would employ a regulated export regime to ensure the smooth flow of exports.

“To ensure a smooth flow of exports of mealie meal, the ministry will apply a regulated export regime that we have been using to facilitate Maize seed exports through the Eastern and Southern African Region, which so far, has worked well. It should be noted that the millers who have accessed the government subsidized Maize from the FRA, will not be allowed to get import permits for mealie meal. State security agencies will also remain on alert in strategic cross boarder points to ensure that illegal exports are kept in check,” Katambo said.

Katambo has since encouraged farmers and traders to take advantage of the lifting of the Maize export ban and strike deals with traders in other countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“I wish to urge farmers, Millers and grain traders to take advantage of the Market wind and close deals with importers in cross border markets, particularly those from Congo DR. From the consultations that government has been having with stakeholders in the Agriculture industry, it has become clear that as a country we need to develop a predictable and transparent Agricultural Commodity Marketing System,” said Katambo.