The Zambian Agricultural Commodities Exchange, which halted operations in July last year, plans to resume trading by the end of the year, executive director Brian Tembo said.
The bourse, known as Zamace, hopes to sign a preliminary agreement this week with Zambia’s Lloyds Financials Ltd. for the lender to take a 10 percent stake in the agricultural exchange, Tembo said by phone from Lusaka, the capital, yesterday. The Zambia National Farmers Union, which represents growers, may buy as much as 20 percent of Zamace, he said. Delays in regulatory changes caused Zamace to miss its previous target to resume trading by May, Tembo said.
“We certainly are hoping by October or November we should be up and running again,” Lusaka-based Lloyds Financials chairman Lloyd Chingambo said by phone from the capital. Local farmers begin harvesting wheat from the end of next month to about October, and Zamace plans to be available to trade the crop, Tembo said.
The World Bank in May criticized Zambia, southern Africa’s biggest corn producer after South Africa and Malawi, for subsidizing production of the grain. The state-controlled Food Reserve Agency’s practice of selling corn for less than it buys it for is “clearly distortive”, Zamace said in a January submission to parliament, urging the government to allow for prices to be set on the commodities exchange.
Corn has advanced about 23 percent this year in Chicago as the U.S., the biggest producer, suffers its worst drought in more than half a century. It traded as high as $8.2025 per bushel on July 31.
Zamace is also in talks with a “multinational entity” involved in agribusiness and hospitality to take up a shareholding in the bourse, Tembo said, declining to identify the company as the talks are confidential.
Prior to its closure Zamace traded wheat, white and yellow corn, corn meal, soy beans and soy oil, pulses, cotton seeds, beans, cement, urea and di-ammonium phosphate fertilizer.
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