Millers reject maize imports, fear move could affect local production, distort prices


Millers have protested against government’s decision to start importing mealie meal from South Africa for fear of affecting production of the commodity while distorting the pricing of the staple food.

The Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) Chairperson, Andrew Chintala, has expressed disappointment with the government’s decision to issue a Statutory Instrument to remove duty on importation of mealie meal and maize in the country.

Chintala said the association did not support the importation of mealie meal into the country as the undertaking was going to negatively affect the local market.

Read more: Govt moves to avert shortages of mealie meal, opens borders to imports

He said it was unfortunate that the government could allow importation of mealie meal when it knows that this move will suffocate the local production.

“We do not support the importation of the commodity on the local market,” he said when he featured on Millennium TV’s ‘The Business Day’ programme, on Thursday in Lusaka.

Chintala said government could not issue a SI to support foreign products at the expense of locally produced products.

“Why should government go to the extent of issuing an SI on the importation of mealie meal on the local market? The commodity is being produced locally and the government should have found ways of supporting local producers in order to enhance production to meet the country’s demand,” Chintala said.

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

He said government should adequately respond to the queries that the public has on the issuance of the SI.

Chintala also said going forward, government and supporting stakeholders should put in place long term measures that would curb mealie meal shortages.

“It is not right for us to sit down every year to discuss mealie meal shortages when modalities can be put in place to enhance production for both local consumption and exports,” he said.

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