ZAMBIA – The Zambian government has taken a step forward to cushion shortage of the corn grain and stabilize the price of mealie meal by promoting community sales under the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) in Sinazongwe District.
To mitigate the situation, the government through FRA has offloaded cheap maize to Sinazongwe residents as opposed to millers until the situation stabilizes.
Nchimunya Siakole, the District Commissioner of Sinazongwe District made the announcement, explaining that Sinazongwe District is adversely affected since it only has two millers.
Additionally, the two millers cannot purchase cheaper maize from FRA since they are not registered with the Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ), further complicating the situation.
According to Lusaka Times, the move follows the fluctuating mealie meal prices in the country hitting a record high of K200 for a 25-kilogram bag.
The skyrocketing prices have been attributed to low production compounded by dry spells experienced in the 2022/ 2023 farming season.
Mr. Siokole noted that the community sales under FRA will shield the citizens from mealie dealers who are selling the staple at exorbitant prices due to the shortage.
He said mealie meal dealers in Sinazongwe District were advised to strictly sell only two to three bags of 25kg mealie meal to clients to cushion the shortage of the commodity.
The commissioner has since raised concerns over purchase fraud exercised by dealers who are buying the commodity from FRA and then selling it to citizens at exaggerated prices.
He, therefore, called upon the citizens to be vigilant against dealers who have resorted to paying some youths to buy the mealie meal for them against the advice of the district administration.
Ms. Simoonga, a resident in the district, appealed to the government to extend the period of community sales at FRA while working on stabilizing the prices of mealie meal