Sun, 18 Feb 2018 10:13:59 +0000
By CHITE MTONGA
THE Food Reserve Agency (FRA) must release maize stocks for mealie-meal prices to drop, Economic Association of Zambia President Crispin Mpuka has said
He said it was not only the hike in fuel prices that instigated mealie meal prices to rise but there was a shortage of maize to supply to millers at an acceptable price.
Mr Mpuka said it was most likely that the mealie meal prices had risen not because of the rise in fuel prices but maize availability to millers was an issue as most farmers held on to maize to sell at higher prices.
He said it was within the FRAs mandate to react to situations that bordered around the country’s food security.
Mr Mpuka said FRA had granaries and issues of supply and demand were at play as stocks were low within the market.
He said FRA did not control players in the market and the maize market was uncontrolled in its current state.
Mr Mpuka said FRA must react by punching cheaper maize onto the market unlike holding on to maize that would perhaps be exported to other countries,
He said the country’s food security did not only border on maize but finished products such as mealie meal as they were important for the country and FRA should continue to play that role.
Mr Mpuka said there was need for all stake holders to immediately constitute discussions on the matter.
“FRA already has the mandate to guarantee food security in the country, and should continue buying maize at a slightly cheaper price during times when we have a lot of maize in the country and sale it out when we have a shortage so that we do not have problems of mealie meal hikes,” he said.
Mr Mpuka said the FRA should be monitoring stock on the market to ensure that there were no shortages.
He said if FRA curried out its functions properly the country could not experience such hikes in mealie meal prices