GOVERNMENT has warned it will re-introduce price controls for mealie meal if millers and retailers continue exploiting Zambians. Minister of Youth and Sport Chishimba Kambwili said this in an interview in Luanshya yesterday. Mr. Kambwili has said the rising prices are of great concern.
“We have observed with concern the escalating prices of mealie-meal. We do not want millers and retailers to take advantage of our people,” Mr Kambwili said.
He said if the millers and retailers continue to exploit Zambians by selling the staple food at a high price, the Government will have no choice but to intervene.
“I do not think we have a shortage of maize to increase the prices of mealie meal,” Mr Kambwili said.
He has advised the millers and retailers to reduce the prices of mealie meal to affordable levels for most Zambians.
“As a Christmas message to our millers: watch out!” he said.
And a miller in Ndola has said that sourcing of the maize from an open market is the cause of the rising prices of mealie meal.
In Ndola, Mr Auswell Nyoni of Chimanga Changa Milling said yesterday that companies have been compelled to increase the mealie-meal prices because they are buying maize at K97 for a 50kg bag.
Government has pegged the floor price for maize at K65.
Mr Nyoni said in an interview that it was not the company’s desire to increase the mealie-meal price but the firm had no choice given the increased production costs.
He said Chimanga Changa may reduce the prices if the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) offers favourable prices for the maize.
“We may consider reducing the price of mealie meal depending on the price that FRA will be giving the maize to us,” Mr Nyoni said.
Antelope Milling managing director Eleftherios Kaldis said he was in a meeting and could not comment on the issue.
“We are in a meeting right now,” Mr Kaldis said.
The prices of mealie meal in Ndola for a 25kg bag range between K65 and K74.
A bag of Chimanga Changa Milling breakfast meal is pegged at K71 while the same brand from Olympic Milling is being sold for K74.
A Simba Milling breakfast bag is selling at K65. The price was the same for Mpongwe Milling breakfast mealie-meal.
A roller meal bag of Chimanga Changa and Olympic Milling is priced at K57.
In Lusaka, a survey revealed that a 25kg bag of breakfast meal which was previously selling at K54 now averages K70.
In Livingstone, the price of the commodity is now K70.
A National Milling Company (NMC) bag is selling at K73 at Spar Livingstone and at K64 at the NMC town outlet.
At Shoprite, only one brand of 25kg breakfast from Pembe Milling was available and selling at K67.