More than two decades after the initiation of agricultural market reforms in eastern and southern Africa (ESA), governments in the region are increasingly using parastatal grain marketing boards (GMBs) and/or strategic grain reserves (SGRs) to directly influence the prices faced by farmers and consumers. In Zambia, for example, the government through the Food Reserve Agency, a SGR/GMB, purchased nearly 400,000 metric tons (MT) of maize from smallholders in 2006/07 and 2007/08, or more than 50% of the maize marketed by this group. This marked a sharp increase in the level of FRA purchases: between its establishment in 1996 and the 2005/06 marketing year, FRA’s annual maize purchases only once exceeded 100,000 MT. Then in 2010/11, the FRA purchased more than 80% of expected smallholder marketed maize (878,570 MT).


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