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Monday, June 27, 2022

Millers group deny colluding allegations on maize purchase

Economy Millers group deny colluding allegations on maize purchase

THE Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) has denied accusations that its members are buying maize at K35,000 per 50 kg bag saying it did not discuss the purchase of maize with its members.

MAZ president Caleb Mulenga said in a statement yesterday that each miller was responsible for procuring their maize in accordance with their ability to pay for raw material in line with their cost structures.

Mr Mulenga said that the K65,000 per kg bag of maize is the price at which the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) was willing to pay for the maize.

FRA was just one of the buyers on the market and others included grain traders, individuals and millers leaving farmers and sellers of maize at liberty to sell to any buyer who offered a better price.

He said last year, millers offered a much higher price than that of the FRA but there was no talk of millers creating a cartel to buy maize at a higher price than the FRA.

Mr Mulenga said while millers were accused of fixing the maize price, there was no corresponding accusation of farmers fixing the price at K65,000.

“We do not believe that any MAZ member is buying maize at the alleged price of K35,000,” he said.

On Tuesday the Zambia Competition Commission (ZCC) said that it was investigating millers for creating a cartel to enable them buy maize at as low as K35,000.

Meanwhile, FRA spokesperson, Mwamba Siame said yesterday that the agency did not buy any maize in June despite the launch of the crop marketing season at the start of the month.

Mrs Siame said in Lusaka that the FRA bought produce for lengthy storage periods for use in case of shortages, price stabilisation and relief purposes and as such it needed to be bought in the right conditions.

She said the FRA would preferably buy grade A crop with 12.5 per cent, which was the internationally recommended standard for the tropical regions to which Zambia belonged.

Chisamba Member of parliament Moses Muteteka in Lusaka yesterday said the FRA should get on the ground and explain what their problem was.

He said as long as the FRA did not register its presence on the ground, millers and other traders would continue to exploit small-scale farmers and that would have a devastating impact on maize production in the coming crop season.

[Times of Zambia]

1 COMMENT

  1. Perhaps FRA is still waiting for funding from the government. The story of moisture contents still being high is just a pack of cheap lies. We all know that FRA has no capacity of buying maize on its own. It’s either they get their funding from the government which is not forth coming or financial institutions who reqire collateral! and where does this come from in the wake of the 27billion missing. FRA!!!! come out in the open and tell us the truth. Bravo Chisamba MP. Put the pressure on!!! We need to know the truth.

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