The 2018 edition of the Africa Food Manufacturing and Safety Summit (AFMASS) Southern Africa edition was held in Lusaka Zambia at Government Complex from 3rdto 5thOctober. The event brought together stakeholders in the food and beverage; agro and agro-processing; grains, milling, baking and animal feed; hospitality and foodservice industries in sub-Saharan Africa to trade, network and learn the latest processing, packaging and food safety technologies.
The theme for this year’s conference was “Building Capacity to Improve Regional & International Trade in the SADC Region’s Food & Agro Industry”.
Superior Milling participated in the event by presenting on Export and Value Additionand the presentation formed part of the discussed for the event on the closing day.
Superior Milling Managing Director Mr. Peter Cottan who made the presentation shared on how Zambia could maximise on its central position to grow its revenues through the promotion of exports into viable markets like Congo which have great potential.
During the presentation Mr. Cottan said Government needed to promote policies in Agriculture sector that were consistent, predictable and streamlined in line with the diversification policy and the promotion of value addition. This is because the desire of Government is to achieve higher revenue from the Agriculture sectorand maintain food security.
Therefore there is need to continue developing well-articulated agricultural policies and strategies with emphasis on the above objective. To attain this we all need to support Governments programmes like theFarmer Input Support Program (FISP) and the Electronic Voucher initiatives.
Efforts to enhance exports
- Government to keep an open border policy on all maize products so that we promote value addition and prioritize the exports of finished products (mealie meal, maize bran, stock feeds, grits and other processed grain products.
- Government to control food security through quotas and issuance of export permits without blanket export bans which damage the Countries reputation in the regional markets.
- There is need to improve our export processes especially the issuance of export permits to allow for easy trade with export partners and agents. In 2017 the sector failed to export 100 000 tonnes of Mealie Meal which was allocated as a quota because of rigorous phytosanitary regulations and instead only 20,000 tonnes was exported. The Country lost valuable forex through trade during that period.
- There is need to formalise boarder trade – Government recognizes the importance of formal trade through bi-lateral trade agreement.
Effects of Export bans to the economy
- Export bans have a profound effect on the viability of mills in this country as some mills close down because of their failure to run at full capacity as a result or low market. (Milling is only profitable if you maximise production capacity to the fullest)
- Export bans breed Jobs losses as mills are a large employer of labour given the extensive nature of milling.
- Export bans create disturbances in the value chain as farmers, transporters; processors and packaging companies are all affected.