By OLIVER SAMBOKO
GOVERNMENT should stop the export of maize and mealie meal to halt the escalation of price for the staple food, the Zambia Consumer Association (ZACA) has demanded.
But Agriculture Minister, Mtolo Phiri has assured the country that there is enough maize in stock than what is needed for local consumption for the whole year.
Mr. Phiri said despite the poor rainfall pattern being experienced, the maize in stock guarantees food security the whole of 2022 and that Zambia has about two million metric tons of maize in storage facilities.
ZACA Executive Secretary Juba Sakala said in an interview that the current escalation of mealie meal price is as a direct result of the government allowing export of the commodity to other countries.
He said the association is aware that recently, Government extended the export of mealie meal to neighbouring countries resulting in the price going up on the local market.
“This increase in price of mealie meal is a warning to Government that cost of production has gone up and maize stocks are running low. So it’s important that Government stops the exports immediately and secures the stocks to stabilise the price,” he said.
Mr Sakala said failure by Government to take immediate action will result at a point where prices of maize meal will go up to over K200 per 25kg bag which is beyond the reach of most people.
He also suggested that Government should also consider giving incentives to millers as a way of cushioning the cost of production.
“Government should stop exports and give incentives to millers so that the prices of maize meal and it’s by products can stabilise,” Mr Sakala said.