Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Maize bumper harvest vs meal meal prices on the market.

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Workers from the Food Reserve Agency packing maize at a shed in Choma
File: Workers from the Food Reserve Agency packing maize at a shed in Choma

By Martin Mwango

Over the last twenty years agricultural production in Zambia has been recording high figures of maize bumper harvest but the question I would like to pose to every Zambian is that, does our bumper harvest seen on the local market or it remains only in figures? Clearly, the agricultural industry is not one of the most economically powerful industries in Zambia.

Even this year Zambia has recorded maize bumper harvest over 2.8million tones. However, the past last twenty years, Zambia has been experiencing high prices of meal meal on the local market in periods like December, January, February up to April with prices rising up to K10,000 plus to the normal price. Breakfast 25kg K50 000 raised to (K62 000) while roller meal 25kg K29 000 rising up to (K38 000). Mostly this prices reduces only in May, June and July when there is excess of maize from the local farmers. This prices was observed in 2010 to 2011 seasons.

Bumper harvest means producing enough for future use but this is not the case in our nation Almost every year we have high shortage of maize on the market and prices of meal meal goes higher. If for sure we have been having bumper harvest, why do we face this challenge on the local market for a long period of time every year? Or is it that the figures we are given are not true but are used for political mileage by those who are in power? Is it because In Zambia we have more local beer breweries than nation millings, which can be logical to say that we have thousands tons of maize in breweries deportees than that of milling deportee?

Zambian government should know the need of the people on the local grounds. In reality Zambian market has never recorded the maize bumper production because the local people have never witnessed that. Neglecting the milling sector resulting to close of national millings almost countrywide, can be also the factor because the milers are on the free pricing market. There is need to rebuild the milling sector in Zambia. Development means that everyone should have an excess to a full meal in a day. We have high figures of maize bumper harvest but do we have high feeders in the nation?

17 COMMENTS

  1. Trouble pa Zed is thiefing-everyone believes in making abnomal profits even over useless things. Some1 will buy a car cheapily in places like the UK, Japan, South Africa-but they increase the retail price on the Zambian market by over 250%-its a shame. Look at what happens when the Kwacha appreciates against major world currencies, prices still remains higher because the harbit of greedness has been instilled in the people by the corrupt system. So when you talk about the bumper harvest-indeed it may be there but because our business community, govt and individuals believes in explointation of the innocent citizens, prices never goes down even where they are supposed to. Look at countries like the UK which imports almost evertg, prices are stable bcz corruption is minimal and govt cares.

  2. Firstly the cost of production for the farmer is very high. Farming implements are not cheap. Fertilizer is expensive so even if a bumper harvest is recorded the farmer can not sell at a very low price because all their labour will go to waste ( Agric is highly labour intensive esp for the peasants who dont use machinery) The miller is also in business and not charity so they cant sell at a give away price. As #1 puts it everyone should look at making sizeable profits to have the prices go down but in a free market economy its difficult to regulate.

  3. Maize meal should not be the only source of food in Zambia. Maize is seasonal and rain dependent. Winter maize is welcome but how many people can afford to produce it. Hence Zambia should not depend on maize alone, diversify to other crops (cassava, sweet potatoes, rice, soughum, and others). A long time ago there was nothing like hunger in villages. Our forefathers used to store foods for the dry seasons – dried beans leaves – peas, dried kandolo, cassava, pupwe and many others. Lets go back to the past their will no poverty and cries over maize prices. By the way Sata is siiick

  4. What are deportees? Depots?? I normally grow my own maize year in and year out. I never feel the price of mealie meal because I just gaya my maize at the chigayo near Pende Electrical in Kitwe or the one in Chimwemwe on the road to Racecourse. Generally, even villagers who grow their own maize never feel the high prices. It is the combon people and the Kabovas at bus stations who drink Chibuku and tujilijili the whole day who complain about price of mealie meal. We need a policy of having every Zambian having a piece of land to grow food and the millers would have no where to sell mealie meal and the price would drop instantly.

  5. Pipo if you have no idea on a topic, just stay put. No1 comment is more logical and in my opinion the trueth. We need a govnmnt that can protect its citizenry from unscruperous dealers otherwise bumper harvest or improved kwacha value will be foolishness to the ordinaly zambian. If Govnmnt expects prices to come down and remain down the whole yr with a bumper harvest and prices dont come down the Govnmnt MUST come in and do a rule of thumb to protect the consumer. I know this is against liberalisation but the rule of thumb is the solution here…Sata can easily use it.

  6. Why dispute a naked fact?Only a fool can doubt the bumper harvests that Zambia has produced,consecutively for that matter.Only an ***** can deny the fact that Mealie Meal prices have considerably reduced.At one time,the price sky-rocketed to between K75,000.00 and K80,000.00 in Chililabombwe.Today,the price is between K40,000.00 and K46,000.00.
    The best advice to the government is to urge them bring the price further down so that even the poorest of the poor can afford to buy the commodity without financial hustles.In this way,we can all as a nation enjoy and celebrate our bumper harvests.

    • one good observation, you are really right why things always prices are up especially for mealie meal which is staple food in Zambia. If you the state would say this year there is bumper harvest …….Truly why price are high annually while opaque beers rarely go down? what could be the probem with the government even when we said Hon Sikatan worked hard on agriculture imput no progress has been seen so far. I s the Bumper Harvest only a paper work issue the? The figure given for the same issue why does it not help low mealie meal prices like Macrone, Spaghetti in italy, Potatoes German? This things are cheaper in these nations i have mentioned why can’t you improvo in agric sector? Wht are your manifestos given to the people over this elections are near, MMD, PF, UPND, do something

  7. Number 9 you if you are wise man indeed, ” why mealie meal prices cannot be maintained even in rain season if the government has recorded a bumper harvest at the prices articulated to be the best at this season when farmers has maize in there homes?’ read well the aritcle

  8. The figure given for the same issue why does it not help low mealie meal prices like Macrone, Spaghetti in italy, Potatoes German? This things are cheaper in these nations i have mentioned why can’t you improvo in agric sector? Wht are your manifestos given to the people over this elections are near, MMD, PF, UPND, do something

  9. @1 one good observation, you are really right why things always prices are up especially for mealie meal which is staple food in Zambia. If you the state would say this year there is bumper harvest …….Truly why price are high annually while opaque beers rarely go down? what could be the probem with the government even when we said Hon Sikatan worked hard on agriculture imput no progress has been seen so far. I s the Bumper Harvest only a paper work issue the?

  10. People complaining about the price of mealie meal spend their time at Times cafe drinking beer worth 14,000 a bottle all week and over the weekend while others are at their farms ensuring that the produce is grown. I do not buy Mealie meal, Onion, tomatoes, Egg plant, Okra and chickens because I have resolved to grow and rear them be it at a small scale. You will not believe how much you can save when you do some of these things on your own, my only expenses are school fees, sugar and groceries. Fuel is not even an issue because I have ensured that the income from the tomatoes sorts out the farm workers salaries (three of them) , electricity and my fuel. This has lifted the burden off my overtaxed salary hence I have a little excess to reinvest into other ventures.

  11. Note that lazy people will always complain regardless of who is in govt because they want things to come to them i,e they want prices to be fixed according to their pockets. Surprisingly, I have never seen people complaining about the price of beer, some people find prestige in buying beer in very expensive places yet still complain about the price of mealie meal. Priorities?????? How you you spend 700,000 on a night out and complain about basic necessities? Let us learn to work for ourselves rather than wait for govt to do things for us. Have you ever serious given a thought on whether we need a president in Zambia or not???

  12. @13, that is exactly my point in @7 above. Our people should stop expecting government to put food on their tables. Us Zambians are generally lazy. Go to Nakonde border and see how Zambians trek to Tanzania to buy rice, sweet potatoes, cassava, etc. Tanzanians don’t buy anything in terms of food from Zambia. The famous Nakonde rice in Zambia is actually Tanzanian rice. Somebody actually told me that the only thing that crosses from Zambia into Tanzania is timber, meaning that deforestation from Northern Zambia is massive. If Zambians started growing food at individual household level, the price of mealie meal would drop instantly.

  13. Spot on @15! I can confirm that I have a bumper harvest at my household level, this makes me believe that a lot of other hard working households who take the initiative can and also have bumper harvests. This added means we have a national bumper harvest, now, there may be do direct relationship between bumper harvest and mealie meal prices because of the following: 1. Some of my bumper harvest will be used to feed my chickens hence will not reach the market. 2 The part of my bumper harvest that reaches the market will be sold to brewers and not millers because brewers offer better prices. 3 Millers are in the business of supplying mealie meal at the highest possible price(just like any other business). 4 if you have masuku on your head, dont complain when people it it right there.

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