Government has announced a further reduction in the wholesale price of mealie meal from a maximum of K61.00 for breakfast meal to K56.00 per 25Kg bag.
Agriculture Minister Given Lubinda says the wholesale price of Roller meal will not exceed K37.00 per 25Kg bag.
Mr Lubinda has told Parliament in a ministerial statement today that the reduction in mealie meal prices follows consultations held between his ministry and the millers.
He explains that the reduction in mealie meal prices is as a result of government’s decision to allow the Food Reserve Agency to offload maize on the domestic market at a subsidized price from K76.00 per 50Kg bag of maize to K65.00.
Mr Lubinda says the new prices for mealie meal have been arrived at in view of the fact that some of the millers are still holding on to maize procured at higher prices than the subsidized price, and that government will from time to time review this position.
He has also clarified that the K56.00 per 25Kg of breakfast meal and roller meal is not a uniform price but rather a maximum price government has agreed upon with the millers, and that government expects others to sale mealie meal at even lower prices than K56.00.
The Agriculture Minister has since appealed to retailers across the country to stick to the recommended retail margin of K3.00 per 25Kg bag of both roller and breakfast meal.
Mr Lubinda has further disclosed that government has approved the sale of up to one million metric tonnes of maize on both the local and export market by the Food Reserve Agency.
And Mr Lubinda says government has allowed the importation of an initial 75,000 metric tonnes of Wheat to forestall the shortage arising from the wheat deficit of 150,000 metric tonnes from the production of 2014.
Mr Lubinda says the country’s wheat demand for the year is 396,000 metric tonnes, while the expected production for 2014 is 215,593 metric tonnes.
He has attributed the decline in wheat production to insufficient water for irrigation especially in wheat production areas such Mkushi.
Mr Lubinda adds that government has decided to weave import duty on wheat imported from non SADC regions.
He has assured consumers that there will be no shortage of wheat or wheat flour products.
Meanwhile Mr Lubinda says preliminary forecast indicate that the country will record another surplus maize production this year.
He says this is despite some areas in the country experiencing drought.