By SENIYA BANDA
MEALIE-MEAL prices will not reduce despite the grain traders and farmers offloading maize on the market, the Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) has said.
Recently, the Grain Traders Association of Zambia (GTAZ) and farmers offloaded maize on the open market to cushion the shortage of the commodity which resulted into high mealie meal prices.
MAZ President Andrew Chintala said offloading maize on the market would not translate in any reduction of mealie meal prices as the produce was being offered at a high price.
“We have seen now that farmers and grain traders have started offloading maize on the market, we are hopeful that the move will stabilise supply of the commodity. However, let me be quick to mention that the current supply of maize on the market will not result in any reduction in mealie meal prices.” he said.
Mr Chintala however indicated that MAZ was doing everything possible to ensure that the prices of mealie meal remained stable on the market.
“In the past months, we have seen the price of mealie meal has stabilised on the market. We are ensuring that price of the commodity remain stable despite the price of maize on the market being high,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Chintala indicated that demand for mealie meal has remained low for the past five months.
“The demand for mealie meal on the market has remained at about 60 percent. However, we are hopeful that the demand will increase with time,” he said.
Mr Chintala has supported the call by the GTAZ to allow for the exportation of maize to neighbouring countries.
He said the country has sufficient maize for both consumption and commercial basis.
“We are aware that our colleagues the grain traders have written to the Ministry of Agriculture over intention to export maize to neighbouring countries. We want to urge Government to allow them to export as the country has sufficient maize,” he said.
But the National Small-Scale Farmers Union of Zambia has advised Government against allowing the export of maize to neighbouring countries.
The union’s president, Mr Ebony Loloji said Government should carry out an assessment to ascertain whether the country was ready for exportation or not.
Mr Loloji said the current 2.1 million tonnes in stock was not sufficient to allow for the exportation of maize.