–Zambia Civil Society Scaling Nutrition Coordinator Chilfuya William has implored government to engage the private sector in establishing small milling companies in districts throughout the country.
Mr Chilufya explained that establishing small milling companies in districts will greatly assist in reducing costs associated in transporting maize grain to millers along the line of railway.
He said transportation costs are contributing to high prices of mealie meal adding that prices of mealie meal can only be reduced further if only government encouraged the setting up of milling companies in districts.
Mr Chilufya stressed that the challenge is with government to ensure that areas that grow abundant maize are given attention by establishing small milling companies so as to cushion high mealie meal prices and shortages.
He said failure to put up small milling companies in districts it will be very difficult for government to control the prices of the commodity.
Mr Chilufya explained to ZANIS that moving maize grain from Chipata to Lusaka for milling then transporting it back to Chipata attracts a higher cost which is passed to the consumer.
He observed that very few families will be able to afford a decent meal if prices continue sky rocketing.
Mr Chilufya said with sky rocketing mealie meal prices, it will be difficult for government to scale up nutrition programmes as very few families will be able to put food on their table.
He insisted that high prices of mealie meal will delay scaling up programmes aimed at alleviating malnutrition.
Mr Chilufya said more effort is required to reducing the malnutrition percentage which currently stands at 45 percent.
Meanwhile Mr Chilufya has praised government for committing itself to commerce distributing 2013 to 2014 farming inputs in September this year.
He said such a commitment by government is welcome as it will help farmers to grow adequate food on time.
Mr Chilufya recalled that the delay in distributing farming inputs in the last farming season will negatively affect rural families.