THE Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) recently announced that there is a scanty supply of maize stock in the country. The low supply of maize on the market can be attributed to smuggling of the commodity into the neighbouring countries such as Malawi and Congo DR.
The other reason for the low supply of maize is due to low yield because some regions did not receive adequate rainfall during the last farming season.
The trickledown effect of the low supply of maize is that the price of mealie meal, our staple food will go up. It is anticipated that the price of mealie meal next year will rise to about K200.00 per 25kg bag of Breakfast mealie meal.
However, the anticipated rise in the price of mealie meal will adversely affect many people because its price will be unaffordable for most consumers. It is a well established fact that many people are wallowing in abject poverty.
The only relief for people who cannot afford the anticipated exorbitant price of mealie meal is to resort to buying pamela (pre packs of mealie meal). This will be costly especially for people with big families. The panacea for the low supply of maize is that our security wings such as the Zambia Army, Zambia National Service and Zambia Police is to seal all borders in a bid to curb the smuggling of maize into the neighbouring countries.
Before the maize stock is depleted, there is need for the Government through the Ministry of Agriculture to consider importing maize from other countries. Ultimately, this will cushion the impact of scanty maize stock.
From the economic perspective, the law of demand and supply states that when demand is more than supply, the prices of goods and supply will be high. On the other hand, when supply outstrips demand, the prices of goods and supply will be low.
With the scanty supply of maize stock, the price of mealie meal is likely to skyrocket in the short term as a consequence.
, Zambians should therefore brace themselves for the high price of mealie meal exacerbated by scanty supply of maize on the market. To ameliorate the problem of scanty maize supply currently prevailing on the market, there is need for the government through the Ministry of Agriculture to find the lasting solutions.
ELEMIYA PHIRI, Lusaka.