By PETER SICHALI
THE current high prices of mealie meal on the market are cost reflective and are not likely to drop, Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) president Andrew Chintala has said.
Mr Chintala said prices of mealie meal have remained high despite the improvement in maize supply on the domestic market.
He said the country has in the last few weeks seen a steady supply of maize on the domestic market.
“There has been an improvement in maize supply on the domestic market, however, the availability of the maize does not mean cheaper prices of mealie meal because of the price at which the maize was bought,” Mr Chintala said.
He however bemoaned lack of demand for mealie meal on the domestic market.
“Currently, the determining factor of the final product – mealie meal – is the maize purchase price on the market. The mealie meal prices obtaining on the market are cost reflective, however let me hasten to mention that the issue is being addressed collectively with the relevant key stakeholders,” Mr Chintala said.
“It’s indeed regrettable. However, it’s worth noting that there is no demand for the commodity on the local market and there is a huge demand for the same across the borders hence the temptation by some of the traders to illegally attempt to export,” Mr Chintala said.
He said MAZ has engaged the government on the export mealie meal through a regulated export regime.
“The solution to curb illegal export is to formalise trade and ensure predictability in the industry and market. There is need for consistency in the export policy framework,” Mr Chintala said.