AGRICULTURE and Livestock Minister Given Lubinda has warned traders in the country to reciprocate the recent decision by millers to reduce mealie meal prices by K4.
Mr Lubinda said it was unfortunate that most traders had refused to reduce mealie meal prices after millers agreed with the Government to reduce the prices.
He said traders were running a risk where the Government might be forced to come up with a law that would allow millers to have their own outlets which would mean that traders would be kicked out of business.
Mr Lubinda was speaking in an interview in Livingstone on Thursday at Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport after officiating at the international Youth Day.
“I want to give a final appeal to millers. Those that have not set up outlets should so quickly so that consumers buy the product at a reasonable price.
“If traders are not wiling to play games with us and millers to reduce prices, they run a risk where we will come up with a law that millers must have their own outlets. It means that traders will be kicked out of business and I don’t want traders to be kicked out of business,” Mr Lubinda said.
He said he wanted traders to be responsive in the manner they were running their businesses by passing on the benefits of reduced prices to consumers.
He said Zambia was running a liberal economy and the recent reduction in mealie meal prices by the millers prices were as a result of his engagement with them.
Mr Lubinda said some millers had plants and outlets across the country and hence there was need for consumers to go and buy from the plant or depots to avoid buying expensively from traders.
“Look around where there is an established miller in your area especially those who have yielded to Government’s plea to reduce the prices.
“We usually boast of bumper harvest in Zambia and we have a lot of maize bought by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) and yet the price of mealie meal is very high. It doesn’t make economic sense,” Mr Lubinda
He said there was something wrong in the maize value chain from production and consumption.
“I want to address this problem in next three to four months and understand why Zambians are not benefiting from abundance of maize.
“All of us want to satisfy consumers and if consumers are not satisfied, then there is something wrong in the chain and we need to address this problem,” he said.