THE Food Reserve Agency (FRA) will maintain the K85 it is charging for a 50 kilogramme bag of maize as the millers have not been passing the benefits of reduced maize prices to the consumers.
The government will not reduce the price at which millers are currently buying the maize from FRA because it cannot continue subsidising millers who are making profits from setting high mealie meal prices.
Agriculture and Livestock Deputy Minister Greyford Monde said the FRA would continue charging millers K85 per 50 kilogramme bag of maize.
He said in comparison to what the private grain traders were charging millers, the rate at which Government was selling its commodity was favourable.
“We won’t adjust the price of maize further because a lot of costs were incurred during the purchasing stage. The private buyers went ahead of Government and bought maize from farmers in the easily-accessible areas whereas we bought from those in the hard-to-reach areas,” he said.
Mr Monde said if Government reduced the price of maize, it would only be subsidising the operations of millers who kept the prices of their products high.
He reiterated that the FRA had enough maize in stock for the market before the next harvest season and this should cushion any shortages and high prices of mealie meal.
“There is enough maize in stock for the market because Government purchased 500,000 tonnes for the strategic grain reserves to meet market requirements before the next harvest season,” Mr Monde said.
He said millers who applied for additional maize from the FRA received their portion of the commodity and this should trigger a reduction in the retail price of mealie meal.
Mr Monde said the Government would continue to offload stocks of maize onto the market based on the applications that the FRA would receive from the millers.
The FRA has already offloaded over 47,000 tonnes of maize from the 500,000 tonnes that Government purchased for the strategic grain reserves.