-Government says it is unacceptable that the price of meali-meal in Zambia has remained too high despite the country recording a bumper harvest.
Agriculture Minister Wybur Simuusa challenged the Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) including the maize traders to come out in open and tell the nation the truth what they are allegedly hiding.
Mr. Simuusa says he will next week summon the association and some maize dealers to his office to explain and chant the way-forward surrounding the exorbitant meali-meal price.
He was speaking in an interview with ZANIS in Lusaka today.
He expects that the price of meali-meal should be much lower than what is obtaining on the ground.
He boasted that the country yielded 700,000 metric tonnes (MTs) of maize from the 2013/2014 farming season to warrant the reduction in meali-meal price but regretted why the price of meali-meal has remained static at K70 for some time now.
“I’ll have a meeting with the MAZ officials including the maize traders and l want them to explain to me as to why they can’t reduce the price of meali-meal in the country. It’s unacceptable that meali-meal is still high amidst plenty of maize stocks, ” Mr. Simuusa said.
Mr. Simuusa further regretted that the private sector has defied his directive to reduce the price of meal-meal.
And Mr. Simuusa says his ministry is scouting for funds to purchase the surplus 200,000 MTs of maize. He said the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has met its target of buying 500,000 MTs from the small scale farmers.
The Minister appealed to the farmers that have supplied maize to the FRA not to panick as government is doing everything to pay them their monies.
He however, could not state how much funds government is looking for but assured soon.
“My ministry is scouting for funds to buy the extra stock because we need the grain,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Simuusa has disclosed that the FRA has so far procured 417 MTs of rice.
Mr. Simuusa said government through the FRA is still buying some more rice and encouraged rice farmers to grow more cereal (rice).