Mealie meal traders in Luanshya district have increased Mealie meal prices to K82 per 25 kg bag following the pronouncement by the Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) that it was considering an upward adjustment of between K10 and K15 per bag.
A spot check by ZANIS in Mikomfwa and Mpatamatu markets revealed that a 25kg bag of Mpongwe Milling breakfast mealie meal was going at K82 with Antelope Milling fetching K81 per 25kg.
But super markets, such as Shoprite and Pick n Pay, have not adjusted the prices which are still between K65 and K70 respectively.
Antelope Milling Company Limited Executive Director, Emanuel Kaldhis, said his company has not increased mealie meal prices and they are expected to remain that way.
Mr Kaldhis, however, noted with regret that some traders were exploiting consumers using his brand when he has not adjust his prices, saying a 25 kg bag was going at K62 wholesale price and K66 retail price.
He added that prices are expected to remain stable if the electricity and fuel prices were not increased, adding that doing so would result in exaggerated mealie meal prices by unscrupulous dealers.
Mr Kaldhis further disclosed that his company had reduced its production levels due to the continued electricity load shedding and he feared that this was one of the major factors that would contribute to an increase in mealie meal prices if the company resorts to using diesel generated electricity.
He boasted that his company labour force stood at 400 permanent employees with 150 casual workers and that the company had no intentions of downsizing its number.
The Antelope Milling Company CEO, however, observed the need by government to control the mealie meal prices to avoid a repeat of riots that rocked the nation in 1986 due to a massive increase in mealie meal prices.
Mr Kaldhis also advised consumers to purchase mealie meal from registered depots to avoid being exploited.
Yesterday chief government spokesperson, Chishimba Kambwili, assured the nation that millers were not going to increase mealie meal prices as they were in discussion with government.
This followed pronouncements by the Millers Association of Zambia that it was intending to increase mealie meal prices by K10 and K15 if their needs were not met.