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Zambia : Suspension of tax on maize imports

Zambia : Suspension of tax on maize imports

Severely affected by drought, Zambia suspended taxes on imports of maize, the country’s main food crop, on 8 May 2024. To avoid shortages caused by the drought, the government has opted to import maize. With almost half of the country’s 2 million hectares of maize planted devastated by the drought, plunging 6.6 million people into a food emergency, the authorities are expected in the next few days to start issuing permits to Zambians to import maize.

Since February 2024, Zambia has been severely affected by a prolonged drought caused by the El Niño climatic phenomenon. According to the government, around 9.8 million people are affected by the drought, 6.6 million of whom are facing urgent food needs. Almost half of the 2.2 million hectares of maize planted have been destroyed by the drought, which is expected to reduce the country’s cereal production by almost 50% by 2024. To cope with the shortage caused by the drought, the Zambian government suspended taxes on maize imports on 8 May 2024..

« The Zambian Cabinet has approved the suspension of taxes on all imported maize in order to alleviate the shortage caused by  drought. The Ministry of Finance has been instructed by the Cabinet to implement this decision immediately. While the government will be at the center of importing maize for strategic reserves, the private sector is also encouraged to seize the opportunity and engage in maize imports. »

Cornelius Mweetwa, Minister of Information and MediaZambia

Zambia, southern Africa’s second largest maize producer, is experiencing its driest agricultural season for 40 years. 84 of the country’s 116 districts are experiencing below-normal rainfall, with devastating consequences for food production. The government has opted to import maize, the country’s main food crop, to make up the shortfall caused by this situation. The Ministry of Agriculture is expected to start issuing permits for maize imports to the private sector in the next few days.

« In response to the adverse effects of the drought, the focus is on providing food assistance to those in need as well as interventions to promote early recovery and build resilience. We are paying particular attention to investments in water development for agriculture to produce more food and energy, as well as in the provision of water for households, livestock and wildlife. 12.6 billion kwacha is needed for immediate food aid, of which 28.3 million kwacha is available, leaving a shortfall of around 12.54 billion kwacha.

Hakainde HICHILEMA, President of the RepublicZambia

On February 29, 2024, President Hakainde Hichilema declared a state of national disaster following a drought that severely affected agricultural production. The Head of State also banned maize exports to avoid a shortage. According to the United Nations, USD 228 million will be needed to help 4.6 million Zambians by the end of 2024.

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