Minister of Eastern Province Chanda Kasolo said the export of the grain worth 34.5 million U.S. dollars was being done on a government-to-government deal.
“We have banned export of maize and its products but we had a request from Malawi to supply them with the grain and we are doing just that under a government-to-government deal,” he is quoted saying by the Zambia Daily Mail.
The export is being done by the Zambia Cooperative Federation, a quasi-government institution. The first consignment of 344 tonnes left for Malawi on Saturday, he added.
The government, he said, was closely monitoring the export of the maize to ensure that unscrupulous traders do not take advantage of the situation to smuggle maize out of the country.
Zambia has been battling the problem of maize smuggling to neighboring countries following a high demand for the commodity. Zambia is among the few countries with surplus maize following poor rains experienced in the 2015/2016 season in southern Africa.