ZIMBABWE topped the list of maize meal importers with imports from South Africa averaging 482 metric tonnes between July and September last year, a regional trade monitoring report shows. The Cross Border Staple Food Trade Monitoring Bulletin- July – September 2014 shows that exports of maize meal by the Southern African countries were between 14 to 50 percent below average between July and September last year compared to the same period in 2013.
The food trade monitoring bulletin is prepared by the Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa – ACTESA – a specialised agency of Common Market for East and Southern Africa with funding from the World Food Programme.
“The largest importers of maize meal were the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe, with imports by the former going up 78 percent compared to the same time last year because of lower production and hence high levels of food insecurity in the country,” the report says.
The report is based on data collected by a network of cross border monitors based at selected active border points in Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
The cross border monitors record data on a regular basis, and transmit it to a central location for collation and analysis. Currently, the informal cross border trade monitoring system includes 29 borders.
“South African exports to Zimbabwe were second highest at 482 MT,” the bulletin says.
ACTESA has since March 2011, been collaborating with the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network on the informal cross border trade monitoring system initiative.
Maize imports were generally below average in all countries. In comparison to 2013 levels, Zambia and Tanzania had increase import volumes while for the rest of the countries volumes were lower as compared to the same period in 2013.
Data provided by the report shows that Zimbabwe imported more than 15 000MT of maize between July and September last year compared to about 40 000MT same period in 2013.
“Imports into Malawi mainly from Mozambique remained the highest at 5 102MT but were less than 2013 levels and the five-year average by 82 and 63 per cent between July and September.
Maize inflows into Zambia, mostly from Tanzania and Mozambique, by order of significance, were the next highest at 4 041 MT while inflows into Tanzania mainly from Malawi were 3 862 MT,” the regional report shows.
Imports into Zambia and Tanzania increased by 22 and 21 per cent respectively compared to the same time last year.
While Zambian imports remained similar to the five-year average, Tanzanian imports were 41 per cent lower.
Mozambican imports were the least at just 200 MT, marking a 66 per cent reduction compared to 2013 levels and a 97 percent decline as compared to the five-year average.