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Zambia Seeks Maize Import from Uganda Amid Severe Drought

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Ayize claire

Apr 28, 2024

Uganda's Role in Alleviating Zambia's Food Crisis

In February 2024, the Zambian government, facing a significant shortfall in maize production across 84 of its 116 districts, imposed a ban on maize grain and maize flour exports. This decision underscores the dire agricultural situation in Zambia, the second-largest maize producer in Southern Africa.
Maize commonly known as corn in the garden

Zambia, grappling with severe drought conditions, has approached Uganda for an import of over 500,000 metric tonnes of maize. This move comes as a critical measure to mitigate the risk of starvation affecting over two million Zambians.

In February 2024, the Zambian government, facing a significant shortfall in maize production across 84 of its 116 districts, imposed a ban on maize grain and maize flour exports. This decision underscores the dire agricultural situation in Zambia, the second-largest maize producer in Southern Africa.


The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal, Industry and Fisheries of Uganda confirmed receiving a formal request from Lusaka. "We are assessing our capacity to meet Zambia's demand for maize grain, ensuring quality and volume considerations are addressed," stated David Kasura-Kyomukama, the ministry's Permanent Secretary, in a recent correspondence.

This potential partnership highlights the regional dependencies on agricultural produce and the urgent need for cooperative efforts to address food security challenges.


Zambia's request to Uganda could affect regional maize markets, especially with South Africa already under pressure to fulfill its domestic and regional commitments. Last year, Zambia declined a similar request from Kenya, which traditionally imports maize from Tanzania, to prioritize its food security.

The Tanzanian government has recently tightened export regulations, complicating maize trade routes in East Africa and prompting countries like Kenya to explore alternative sources.


Forward-Looking: Regional Cooperation on Food Security

As Zambia and Uganda discuss the logistical and regulatory frameworks for the maize trade, it is clear that enhanced regional cooperation and sustainable agricultural practices will be vital in addressing the impacts of climate variability on food production.

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