Mealie-meal shortage hits Ndola

A SHORTAGE of mealie-meal has hit Ndola with most popular outlets having run out of the commodity.

A check yesterday found that Shoprite and Pick n Pay stores in town did not have mealie-meal in stock.

Some people were found waiting at Shoprite around 12:00 hours after employees re-assured the customers that mealie-meal from Antelope Milling would be available in the afternoon.

The Olympic Milling depot in the town centre had breakfast mealie-meal where a 25kg bag was going for K74 and but it had no stocks of roller meal.

The National Milling depot had in stock 25kg bags of breakfast mealie-meal going at K65 while there was no roller meal in stock.

Mealie-meal prices in Lusaka yesterday remained unchanged despite Government’s intervention for traders to reduce the price of the staple food in Zambia.

Most traders in some parts of Lusaka maintained their prices at K70 for a 25kg bag of breakfast and K54 for roller meal.

The traders interviewed said they were buying the mealie-meal from millers at between K65 and K67 and were adding a K3 for transport and their profit.

Agriculture Minister Bob Sichinga last week met with various stakeholders in the maize and milling business to find a solution to the escalating mealie-meal prices.

Mr Sichinga said the current mealie-meal prices were unjustified as there was enough maize in the country and urged the millers to reduce their prices.

But the Millers Association of Zambia explained that it was difficult for them to reduce prices as they were buying maize between K1, 700 and K1, 950 per tonne and, therefore, it was not profitable for them to sell mealie-meal below K65.

National Milling Corporation retail outlets dotted in various parts of Lusaka were selling a 25kg bag of breakfast at K65 and K45 for roller meal, while a 10kg bag of breakfast was pegged at K29 and K19 for roller meal.

Superior Milling retail outlets in the capital city were selling the commodity at K67 for a 25kg bag of breakfast and K31 for a 10kg bag, while they were selling roller meal at K54 for a 25kg bag and K24 for a 10kg bag.

In Shoprite all the prices of mealie-meal from different milling companies were being
sold at K64.99 for a 25kg bag of breakfast while there was no roller meal on the shelves.

Pick n Pay general manager Andy Roberts said all their supermarkets were selling the maize meal at the exact price they bought it from the suppliers.

Mr Roberts said the milling companies were supplying the mealie-meal at different prices ranging from K63 for a 25kg of breakfast to K65.

In Kitwe, the retail price for mealie-meal has gone up to over K70 from the recent price of K65 for a 25kg breakfast bag.

A survey by the Times around the town centre yesterday showed that most milling
outlets had pegged a 25kg breakfast bag, which was found well stocked, at K74.

Among the milling outlets sampled were Antelope Milling next to Shoprite Checkers where a 25kg breakfast bag was found being sold at K74.

Shoprite, which normally stocks various brands of mealie-meal, had stocked 2.5kg and 5 kg sachets.

In Ndeke, mealie-meal was in a number of retail shops with a 25kg breakfast bag from Antelope Milling going at K74 at Roberts Investment.

In Livingstone, mealie-meal prices have continued to increase in major retail outlets in the city.

A check at Maramba Market and Spar outlet yesterday revealed that a 25kg bag of breakfast meal was fetching around K65 from the previous price of K55.

Times of Zambia