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Zambia Corn Policy Hurts Other Crops, World Bank Says

Zambia shouldn’t set a producer price for corn because farmers are discouraged from growing other crops like soy and peanuts, the World Bank said.

The policy has “limited private-sector investments in the agricultural sector and constrained much desired growth and job creation,” Kundhavi Kadiresan, the lender’s country director for Zambia, said in an e-mailed statement today from the capital, Lusaka.

Zambia’s Food Reserve Agency said yesterday that it would pay 1.3 million kwacha ($243) a metric ton for corn, according to the state-controlled Times of Zambia newspaper.

The government of Zambia, southern Africa’s biggest corn producer after South Africa and Malawi, is the largest buyer of grain in the country, with the nation’s Food Reserve Agency purchasing 1.8 million metric tons of the 3 million tons produced last year, according to the Zambia Agricultural Commodities Exchange Ltd.

“It is our hope that government will reconsider its policy of setting prices for corn to allow prices to be determined by prevailing market conditions,” Kadiresan said.

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