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34 Chapter 5

34 Chapter 5 Agricultural Trade Performance

23 Zambia could become a major food exporter to Eastern and Southern Africa. The country shares borders with nine countries and as earlier alluded to, relative to other countries in the region, it has an abundance of water and fertile land, and a generally favorable climate for agricultural production. Additionally, as compared with other countries in the region it has a well-developed agri-business sector with more than 400,000 smallholder households linked to private firms through vertically integrated out-grower programs primarily for cotton, and (less so) sugar, tobacco, and soya beans. Large commercial farms and estates also play an important role in Zambian agriculture and account for the bulk of exports of sugar, tobacco, wheat, horticulture products, coffee, and soya beans. Figure 11 shows the value of agricultural imports and exports as well as the ratio of imports to exports in Zambia for the period 2011 to 2016, whilst Figure 12 shows the net agricultural export values for the same period. The value of agricultural imports have stayed almost consistent at around US$420-440 million whilst agricultural exports have been trending downwards. This trend is shown by the rising ratio of agricultural imports to exports, meaning the country is increasingly importing more than it is exporting. This trend is augmented in Figure 12, where the net agricultural export values is clearly trending downwards. In 2016, it is projected that Zambia will be a net importer of agricultural products. This may be mainly attributed to the maize export restrictions/ ban instituted in 2016. The maize trade situation in 2016 is discussed later in this publication. Yawning Regional Market “Zambia is strategically located”

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