Again, govt accuses millers of frustrating efforts made to check rising prices of mealie meal


Government has accused Millers of exporting maize and mealie meal it is supplying to them through the Food Reserve Agency (FRA), resulting in the continued escalation of mealie meal prices on the local market.

Addressing Journalists at a media briefing on Friday in Lusaka, Agriculture, Minister Mtolo Phiri, said it was very clear from what was obtaining that the maize FRA has been releasing on the market has found itself exported either in raw form or as mealie meal.

Read more: Government, millers agree to drop mealie meal prices

Phiri said if the Maize supplied to Millers by FRA has only been supplied onto the local market, prices of mealie meal would have stabilised with no risk of having abnormal prices on the local market.

He has said that since the last harvest, the FRA has continuously been releasing maize on the market to ensure constant supply of mealie meal by the millers.

“The Agency has been playing this role effectively and will continue to do so. Currently, the Agency is holding 342,135.52 metric tonnes of white maize as strategic grain reserves,” Phiri said.

He said from this amount 173, 282.04 metric tonnes is already committed, leaving a net balance of 168, 853.48metric tonnes to last the remaining months before next harvest.

Phiri said in order to mitigate against the risk of mealie meal prices increasing further, government through the Ministry and other public agencies will enhance the monitoring of borders to ensure no illegal exports are taking place.

“Continue off-loading of the maize to selected millers who are expected to supply the local market, continue selling of maize to districts under the Rural Vulnerable Communities Initiative to protect households food security,” he said.

Phiri further indicated that government may consider the importation of maize from other countries to prevent any shortfall and engage other countries to prevent players that may have maize stocks to ensure that they contribute to meeting the local demand before exporting.

“Therefore, I wish to indicate that the national strategic food reserve is sufficiently stocked, and that the country has adequate capacity to address any short to medium term threats to the stability of the Mealie Meal prices,” he said.

Contributed by Augustine Sichula

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