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Smuggling of mealie meal pushes prices to all-time high of K800 per 25kg bag in border areas


Government says smuggling has reached alarming levels albeit the Zambia National Service and other security wings have been tasked to curb smuggling of maize and mealie meal at borders with neighboring countries.

Defense Minister, Ambrose Lufuma, said the scourge has now reached alarming levels to the extent that it is now affecting food security in the country and shortages of the staple food and escalated prices especially in the border areas is the order of the day.

Lufuma in a statement in Lusaka on Friday noted that climate change has played havoc on yields and production of maize in some countries with Kenya on the verge of starvation and require in the region of 1 million tons of maize.

He said the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana and Malawi are all looking at Zambia to feed their populations.

Read More:Again, govt accuses millers of frustrating efforts made to check rising prices of mealie meal.

“Whereas mealie meal is selling at retail prices of between K170 to K200 per 25kg bag of breakfast meal on the local market, the same is fetching anything between K500 to about K800 just across Zambian borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at Kasumbalesa,” Lufuma said.

He said bicycles, motorbikes, head carriage, small vehicles, taxis, small trucks, big trucks, containerized trucks, boats, canoes are being used as vehicles to transport the commodity to destinations across the borders.

“Although the country’s strategic maize stocks held by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) are enough to feed the country until the next harvest, they are certainly far from enough to feed the whole of Zambia’s neighboring countries,” Lufuma said.

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