Botswana Agriculture Marketing Board is in negotiations with Zambian companies to import atleast 10,000 metric tons of maize following poor harvests in the country. The poor harvest has been attributed mainly to poor rains during the ploughing season last year.
BAMB Public Relations Officer Kushata Modiakgotla says currently the national consumption of maize stands at 140,000 tones whilst that of sorghum is 90,000.
Zambia recently announced that it plans to sell as much as a third of its record corn crop as drought and floods in neighbouring nations decimate harvests of the grain used as a staple food.
The country will sell as much as 1 million metric tonnes of its white-corn surplus, Agriculture Minister Given Lubinda was quoted as saying. The Zambian government is said to have set aside almost one-third of its record 3.2 million-tonne 2014 crop to sell locally and to neighbours. Already Zambia is said to have held talks with its southern neighbour Zimbabwe over a possible sale.
Zambia has become a big cereals exporter in the sub region, a development which is credited to white farmers who were thrown out of their farms in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe also imports cereals from Zambia.
Meanwhile milling companies in Botswana, Bokomo and Bolux are said to be importing their cereals.
In 2013, Botswana had a bumper harvest of 43,321 metric tons of sorghum, 13,669 metric tons of maize, 4,703 metric tons of sunflower and 4,151 metric tons of pulses. BAMB said then that it was the biggest harvest in 40 years.
Fast forward to 2015, Botswana has only managed to get 26,000 metric tons of sorghum, 6000 metric tons of cowpeas and an insignificant amount of maize.
Neighbouring South Africa also declared the worst drought since 1992. South Africa, the continent’s biggest corn producer and traditional supplier of its neighbours, predicts a 32 percent drop in the 2015 harvest to the smallest in eight years.