ZAMBIA – The cost of maize meal in Zambia is expected to go down in the coming weeks following the government’s decision to maize from its strategic grain reserves to millers.
Millers are expected to receive about 250,000 metric tonnes from the Food Reserve Agency to enable them produce mealie meal in bulk and flood the local market so that consumers can buy the commodity at affordable prices.
The millers have agreed to price the commodity at between K160(US$8.4) and K170 (US$8.9) per 25-kilogram bag from K300 (US$15.7) in a forward step to ensure that the commodity is sold at affordable prices for Zambian citizens.
However, even with this benefaction from Government, some milling companies were seemingly hesitant to quickly buy maize from FRA and instead claimed that there was a shortage of grain in the country.
In response, Kelvin Hambwezya, the Chairperson of the FRA Board thanked the millers for their cooperation and expressed hope that the price of mealie meals would continue to reduce with further interactions
He further called on shops and retailers to reduce the price of mealie meal as well, so that customers can benefit.
“FRA is aware of the fluctuating mealie meal prices in the country and the agency has responded with interventions aimed at normalizing the situation”, he said
“FRA was created to make sure that when there is a crisis or a disaster like we seem to have, FRA is mandated to offload maize or rice or whatever commodity is required to help mitigate the problem,” Mr. Hambwezya added.
So far, the millers have paid for 75,000 metric tonnes of maize and have been instructed to collect it from the nearest FRA depots. The FRA has also sold maize to 33 districts under the rural vulnerable communities to ensure household food security.
Additionally, the agency has authorized the release of 50,000 metric tonnes of maize to the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit for relief purposes for households affected by floods.