Uganda to supply 500 million kg of maize to Zambia

Ugandan maize farmers and suppliers are set to benefit from a mega deal of supplying at least 500 million kilogrammes of maize to Zambia following a dry spell in the southern African country.

Information at the agriculture ministry indicates that the request for the consignment came to Uganda in mid-March as droughts threatened people’s livelihoods in Zambia.

Julius Twinamasiko, a ministry of agriculture official, told local media they had agreed to export the requested consignment.

“But it is not in one consignment. We will supply in phases because the logistics for such an exercise are often challenging,” Twinamasiko said.

“Nevertheless, we are glad that the private sector has experience in exporting to other countries and are ready to take this up as well,” he added.

The official said Uganda had already written to the Government of Zambia agreeing to deliver the required volumes of maize.

He also revealed that they expected a higher price for the suppliers compared to the current market price.

Government statistics indicate that in 2021, maize was the most cultivated crop in the country.

In February, international media reported that Zambia declared the drought the country was going through a national disaster, with President Hakainde Hichilema saying the lack of rain had devastated the agricultural sector, affecting more than one million families.

The southern African country had then gone without rain for five weeks at a time when farmers needed it the most.

“The destruction caused by the prolonged drought spell is immense,” he said. The dry spell had affected 84 of the country’s 116 districts.

“Exacerbated by climate change and the El Nino weather phenomenon, the crisis threatens national food security, as well as water and energy supply,” Hichilema said.

“In view of these challenges … we hereby declare a prolonged drought as a national disaster,” the president said.

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