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Opposition slams Lungu's plan to import maize from South America

22 January 2016, 19:35

Lusaka - Zambian President Edgar Lungu has disclosed plans for the country to import maize from South America, as the drought is expected to downsize the crop considerably.

Local newspaper The Post reported that the country was looking to import maize as a means of combating the effects of an El Nino that is currently plaguing the region, causing widespread drought.

According to Lungu, Zambia's maize stock would only serve the country until June of this year.

Lungu, however, has faced widespread criticism over his action plan, with the opposition lambasting him for exporting maize while the country faced a food shortage.

Zambia's opposition party, the United Party for National Development (UPND), said the input support programme could potentially lead to hunger.

A recent statement released by UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema, said that maize exports were leading to a rise in the country's cost of living and "could lead to the starvation of much of the country's poorest citizens".

Alliance for Democracy and Development (ADD) leader Charles Milupi also weighed in on the crisis, calling the importation of maize "illegal", as the southern Africa country continued to export the commodity to other countries.

A recent News24 report revealed that Zambia had started exporting grain to neighbouring Zimbabwe in October 2015.

The Zambia Grain Traders Association at the time, disclosed logistical challenges being faced due to the agreement, with Zambia only being able to export 40 000 tons of grain to Zimbabwe per month.

The ongoing El Nino is said to be affecting approximately 30 million people across the region, with maize outputs in Zambia expected to drop by a third due to the ongoing drought.

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- News24


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