BUUMBA CHIMBULU writes
SOUTHERN Africa, which is typically self-sufficient in maize, is expected to register well above average net maize supply of over four million metric tonnes this year, as Zambia’s exports are expected to remain below average.
This supply will be above the previous 2019/20 marketing year and similar to 2018/19, says Regional Maize Supply and Market Outlook.
According to the report, structurally deficit countries were expected to maintain typical import dependence, while the import gap in Zimbabwe would be well above average.
“South Africa, the region’s largest maize exporter will have an above average surplus while Zambia will maintain its surplus at below average levels. Malawi will also have an above average surplus,” the report said.
In terms of intra-regional trade, the report indicated that South Africa’s maize export volumes to Zimbabwe were expected to remain above average while Zambia’s exports were expected to remain below average.
The report said given anticipated imports by Kenya from international markets, export demand from Tanzania destined for East Africa were expected to be limited.
It said export restrictions designed to secure domestic food availability in addition to existing Covid-19 related movement restrictions and intensified border screenings may compound food access constraints in deficit countries.
“Although food availability within the region is expected to be adequate and only localized price anomalies are expected, food access among market-dependent households is expected to remain constrained due to Covid-19 lockdown measures,” the report said.
According to the report, the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic coincided with start of regional harvests in Southern Africa.
It explained that moving into the 2020/21 marketing year, opening stocks were 20 percent below average. “Below average opening stocks were offset by the region’s above average 2020 maize harvest despite dryness experienced in many areas earlier in the year,” the report said.