President Hakainde Hichilema has attributed the current prevailing high prices of mealie meal to increased demand of Zambia’s maize in other regions.
Consumers are currently buying a 25 kilogramme (kg) of mealie meal between K270 and K320, depending on their location.
In his official opening of the third session of the thirteenth national assembly on Friday, Hichilema expressed concern about this situation and mentioned that his administration was doing everything possible to stabilise the price of the commodity.
Hichilema attributed this situation to immense pressure for Zambia’s maize due to regional and global supply deficits arising from factors such as climate change and instability in some parts of the world.
“We are very aware about this situation, we are very concerned about this situation and we are doing everything possible to stabilise the price of our staple commodity called maize.
“We are putting in place measures which will cushion the vulnerable in our society and their positive impact will be seen fairly soon,” he said in address delivered under the theme: “building on the socio-economic gains for improved livelihoods and a better Zambia.”
Hichilema said this after acknowledging that Zambia’s food security had been impacted as evidenced by rising prices of mealie meal in the country.
Among the measures he announced to address the situation were: increasing the purchase price of maize to K280 from k180 per 50kg bag and establishing a credit window to support small scale farmers, public sector workers and others with affordable financing for inputs, mechanisation and irrigation.
Hichilema’s desire is to provide agricultural mechanisation services to small-scale farmers.
“In 2022, a total of 4,000 small-scale farmers were provided with tractor-based mechanisation services, exceeding the annual target of 1,500 farmers.
“We will continue with construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of water harvesting and irrigation infrastructure across the country. our target is to reduce over-dependence on rain-fed agriculture and ensure planting throughout the year,” he said.
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