Shortage of mealie meal hits Kasempa
Kasempa, March 7, ZANIS ——–The shortage of mealie meal has hit Kasempa district forcing people to scramble for the commodity at exorbitant prices from the black market.
A check by ZANIS this morning revealed that only 5, 10 and 20 kilogrammes of breakfast mealie meal were in stock in various shops while a 20kg was being sold at KR 60 and 10 kg at KR25 with a 5kg going at KR14.
And Kasempa National Milling Company Supervisor Francis Mwansa said his depot had pressed an order for 800 x 25 kg bags of mealie meal but were supplied less making the consumers scramble for the commodity.
Mr Mwansa said the depot received the 25 kg bags of mealie meal on Sunday and were being sold at KR 50 but got finished by Tuesday morning and only 5 and 10kg bags of mealie meal are currently in stock.
Meanwhile David Kafuta, a business man appealed to government to put measures that would enable farmers have access to loans and expand business by constructing a milling company in the district.
Mr Kafuta complained of making a loss by ordering mealie meal from outside the province and attributed it to the high cost of selling the commodity in order to make a profit.
He also said dealers in mealie meal have a tough time ordering the commodity in Lusaka or Copperbelt because millers are not selling to business men from outside the province adding that the move is aimed at making farmers own their own milling companies in respective districts.
Meanwhile government has allowed the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to sell maize to people in order to mitigate the shortage of mealie meal.
Kasempa District Commissioner Victor Kayikesi said government has allowed FRA to sell 50kg of maize at KR 60 and has since urged the community to utilize the available stocks of maize.
“It is unfortunate that people are fighting over mealie meal otherwise government has opened up FRA shed to start selling maize in order to cushion the shortage,” he said.
He advised residents not to panic as the province has enough stocks of maize to reach to the next farming season and retracted assumptions by some sectors of society who are anticipating high starvation levels.
“North-Western has enough maize to last up to the next farming seasons and hence people should not panic that they would be starvation,” he assured.
Mr Kayikesi has since advised farmers in the districts to unite and make a milling company within the province as a way of mitigating the shortages of mealie meal in the future.