Amusaa Mwanamwambwa said the minister should urgently make an inquiry into the reported shortage of the staple food and report to parliament quickly.
This followed a point of order raised by Mazabuka MP Garry Nkombo who wondered whether the minister of agriculture was in order to remain quiet amid reports of mealie meal shortage in Southern province.
Mr. Nkombo quoting Friday’s newspapers, told the house that people had formed long queues at Mazabuka’s shoprite as early as 04 hours in attempts to buy mealie meal.
In his rulling the Speaker said although the point of order was unprocedural, the subject matter was of great concern as it involved people’s welfare.
Choma milling which is the main supplier of mealie meal in Southern Province has shut down its operations citing a shortage of maize.
Company managing director Jon Mackatos who confirmed the development to ZANIS in Choma said the plant stopped operating due to lack of maize.
Mr Mackatos said the milling plant had signed a contract with the Food Reserve Agency for the supply of 7, 000 metric tonnes of maize for the month of January but only 400 tonnes was received.
He said the 400 tonnes is only sufficient for one day’s production of mealie meal due to the plants big production capacity.
Mr Mackatos said it has become difficult under the present circumstances to continue running the plant in the absence of the raw material.
The milling plant is the only one producing mealie meal in the district and servicing surrounding district of Sinazongwe, Namwala, Kalomo and other southern province towns.
And district commissioner Laiven Apuleni told ZANIS in Choma the suspension of production is unfortunate and will impact negatively on the availability of mealie meal in the district.
Mr Apuleni said management at Choma milling had tried their best to source maize but have found it increasingly difficult.
He said has appealed to the Food Reserve Agency to act expeditiously because the situation has gone out of hand in the district.
A survey by ZANIS in Choma found that most retail outlets have run out of mealie meal while those found with the commodity had abnormally inflated the price of 25 kilgoramme breakfast bag to K 75, 000.
Several residents have now been gripped with panic over the shortage of mealie meal whose price is rising on daily basis.