UPND president Hakainde Hichilema interacts with marketeers in Marapodi township
UPND president Hakainde Hichilema interacts with marketeers in Marapodi township

United Party for National Development (UPND) President Hakainde Hichilema has said that the looming hunger in Zambia is because of the PF Government’s lack of vision and management skills.

In a statement released to the media yesterday, the UPND leader said that his party warned the PF about the impending adverse weather conditions due to El Nino and the danger of exporting maize, but President Lungu and his Government did not listen

Below is the full statement

OFFICIAL STATEMENT

Solutions to President Lungu’s failed maize economics

President Edgar Lungu has said that the chances of importing maize are high in Zambia given the erratic rainfall that we are experiencing. This is not just bad dream. Hunger is looming because of the PF Government’s lack of vision and management skills.

The Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) has warned about an increase in mealie meal prices. Under the PF a 25kg bag of mealie meal has already risen from K50 up to K100. This has been attributed to rising production costs and reduced quantities of the maize grain on the market. Yet President Lungu, through his Minister of Agriculture Given Lubinda, repeatedly assured the nation that there was a bumper harvest with enough maize for exports.

Even at that time we warned the PF of the mistake they were making by offering farmers 75 Kwacha per bag (1500 Kwacha a ton or US$120 at the current exchange rate). We warned them that informal traders had found a market which was offering them up to US$200/ton, leading to massive exports by both formal and informal means, which apparently the PF encouraged. So while the food national balance sheet looked good on paper, had President Lungu and his PF Government listened to those warnings they could have seen how exports would lead to reduced maize grain availability. This failure to pay attention, heed warnings and plan ahead cannot be blamed on nature and God, as Lungu is trying to imply again. In fact, as UPND, we even warned the PF about the impending adverse weather conditions due to El Nino. Nature and calamities will always be there, that is why people build houses that insulate themselves from nature.

Having issued a warning of the hunger and food insecurity to come after observing the PF’s recklessness of encouraging large quantities to go to exporters rather than the FRA, we also moved to provide solutions and advice to the PF Government, including in a statement to the media on July 22, 2015.

“We are currently being told the country is exporting huge quantities of maize to neighbouring countries in order to clear stocks for last season. Exporting of such produce as maize grain is the problem we have been talking about because we don’t do any value addition.

Our alternative policy, if indeed we have too much maize, would have been to encourage exporting of finished maize products such as mealie meal and feedstock etc. We need to encourage milling companies to grind more maize grain for export earnings. From maize milling, which is value addition, there are also lots of other by-products such as feedstock for our animals.

In short when we export maize grain, we also export a lot of other products which in turn finds it’s way back into Zambian market as imports of our own products and in the process contribute to the Kwacha’s fall”.

Given that the weather forecast for this farming season, as we warned, was that of El Nino, President Lungu and his Government should have prepared for the worst. We are now faced with a situation where Government has failed to secure food despite early calls for remedial measures.

We are now concerned how the majority of Zambians will survive given the ever rising cost of living and redundancies both in the mining sector and other industries that are buckling due to increased costs of production and load shedding.

The PF has let the Zambian people down by failing to address the situation before people go hungry. They must now apologise and take responsibility for delivering lasting solutions, and not bury their heads in the sand while Zambians suffer.

In short, we repeatedly warned the PF Government not to export maize before ensuring the country had enough stock. They have not heeded, and as we speak maize is being exported out of the country in large quantities.

Surely it is not rocket science to know that we have to secure our stocks before exporting to avoid such a shortage, as well as to develop value addition industries in order to improve the standard of living for Zambians.

Hakainde Hichilema
UPND President

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48 COMMENTS

  1. All PF will say is, “Koni kale imba fye!!” Meaning: “That is a little bird simply singing!!”

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    • Now the price of Nsima will go up, and somebody from Govt will condemn the millers and ask Lungu for price controls. If Lungu makes it this August Kaya. Mr Lungu, Nshima and Zambians is door and door frame so make sure Nsima is affordable in August….

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    • Ba HH! we share religion (SDA), we also share a favourite hymn “bless me also” but I am not with you on El-nino, it’s just unpredicted natural disaster not PF visionless……please

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    • Question is why did PF export maize when they were warned of El Nino? why have they continued to export maize? This is what you called visionless, you can’t see even when shown the way. Anybody with a little gray matter knows PF have failed and Edgar must go

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    • @1 YOU ARE SAYING IT. IN FACT NI CIMBWI ALELILA AS USUAL. THE YOUNGSTER IS TOO MUCH OF A CRY BABY. HH IS ALWAYS LOOKING OUT FOR SOMETHING TO BLAME ON PF. HE SPENDS TOO MUCH TIME GOING THRU RECORDS TO SEE PF MISTAKE AND IF THERE ISN’T HE COOKS UP ONE AND QUICKLY RUNS TO THE MEDIA. HH IS NOT A GOOD PERSON, HE IS A VENGEFUL PERSON. MIND WHENEVER UPND SAY THEY SUPPORT SOMETHING OF PF, IT IS ALWAYS NOT HH WHO SAYS IT BUT HIS HENCH MEN. HE HATES, PERSONALLY BEING HEARD SUPPORTING GOOD OF PF. YOU DON’T WANT SUCH KIND OF AN INHUMAN PERSON FOR A NATIONAL LEADER. CITIZENS WILL BE VERY SORY. THE ECONOMIC DOWN TURNS ARE THE WORLD OVER. BUT HIS EVIL MIND AND FINGER ALWAYS BLAMES PF. SO, WHEN DOES HE BRAINSTORM ON DEVELOPMENTAL ISSUES?

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  2. How do export maize then start importing the same maize.thats rubbish n lack of direction from this government.

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  3. Ichilema talks ad if government doesn’t have systems in place. And by the way, much of the work in government is done by the same civil servants you would find in the event that you won elections unless you tell you will be doing everything by yourself.

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    • Systems are there, some very good I must say. The problem is the calbre of the people employed, too much patronage and no quality you have class monitors who have not sat in a school! Examples abound, mines safety inspectors who have not run a mine shift,mining investmet evaluators who have done a stope tonnage and grade calculation, office equipment repairers who are PSs, Bishops who are energy sector managers. And you expect good results.

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    • What a dull comment!

      What you are actually saying is that the politicians make no difference ???

      Why then is Lungu increasing Ministers and Deputy Ministers……. when they are incompetent, ineffective and irrelevant ?

      YOU MIGHT BE RIGHT!

      Or they might only be drawing huge salaries for MAKING THINGS WORSE !!!!!!!

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  4. Ichilema talks as if government doesn’t have systems in place. And by the way, much of the work in government is done by the same civil servants you would find in the event that you won elections unless you tell me, you will be doing everything by yourself.

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    • No he will not do everything by himself but hopefully have a vision as to what is correct and see that the people he puts in place do their jobs properly.

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  5. HH, HH, WE, WE, I, I, I, How come this man thinks he is the only man who is the repository of knowledge in zambia? HH makes me sick each time he speaks. He has no remorse about the money he stole when he sold Luanshya Mine. Yet there he is ” We, We, We, I, I, I, I,I.
    I think we should open a Commission of Inquiry into the sale of Luanshya Mines.

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    • Wer are the records that he sold luanshya mine? Ubufi iwe be objective the propaganda on privatisation and tribalism are long gone you are the only left in that era.get found please n make reasonable arguments.

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    • Look at u, u also have a “we” in your last statement. I
      According to you its wrong when others use it

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  6. Anything wrong under this PF administration is attributed either to God (nature) or global and any little success if at all there is any is always PF under the able leadership of Chagwa my foot!!!!!!!!!!!. Time has come country men and women to usher in a new visionary leadership which will take full responsibility of all it’s failures and find a way out. Let’s turn up in large numbers come August 11, 2016 to redeem our beloved country from this Chipante pante government. In the meantime Aleisa Aleisa

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  7. Careful HH, even by giving those solutions they’ll say that you’re tribalist. Zambians always rely on miracles so let them wait for a miracle because Lungu’s government has nothing to do with all this.

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  8. You Never told them HH. You always say that but all you do at rally is claim you told them when you actually never tell GVT anything. For your information we have limited storage capacity and we had 2 bumper harvests which stretched our storage capacity. with rains likely to be normal in the whole northern half of the country we had to sell to create room because any rotten maize would have attracted impeachment calls from you. my guess you would have been saying ” we told them to sale excess maize. its not rocket science that when you have a full busket and you are expecting to get more you sell and get more forex for the country..bla bla bla bla”

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    • There you again. Full basket so you throw away what you have in anticiipation of good harvest.. In the same vein you say yoU can control nature! Read the article again,in there is a statement on vallue addition, mill the anticipated ecxess maize and export mealie meal and stockfeeds, your forex and storage issues are sorted out and you still have control over reserves. Additionally you can make cornflakes and oher products from our maize that are imported fom outside. In short encourage value addition by providing a conducive industrial and concessional loans to up coming young engineer,scientists etc. In stead our pro poor govt is getting to improve personal security monitoring. Security from your own children if there well fed??

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  9. HH, are you sure there’s an export market for maize meal? I suspect other countries would rather import grain than finished goods. If they dont get the grain from Zambia, they will get it some place else.

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    • Ala, there is a shortage of grain in the region. We have made it easy to be exploited by foreigners because we have a visionless leader. Neighbors would have no choice but to but our finished product if we had the right policies

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  10. For your information Mr HH Zambia will receive normal rainfall. If you think you will use our hunger to ascend to Plot 1 , you have another thing coming. Zambia is not going to starve.

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  11. Can HH tell us when this El nino will come to an end, and what remedy he has if it continues for the next 3 years and happens to be in power, though God forbid? it is good to plan as HH as stated but should also understand that we can plan but its God to fulfil. God’s plans are not our plans and lets stop talking and blaming others on things which are beyond our comprehension and ability. There will be no hunger in Zambia, yes in certain areas like in southern province where it is not raining, but that should not worry them as they have prayed for it God will give them rain, if no rains we will still feed from the same pot after all its one Zambia one nation.

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  12. Ba HH it is GRZ technocrats who advise GRZ on technical matters. Not the opposition. The former Acting President, Dr Guy Scott, attributed the lack of preparedness to technocrats especially with regard to power shortage. The Zambezi River authority regulates the usage of the water on the Kariba Dam between Zambia and Zimbabwe but according to Dr Guy Scott, the Zambezi River Authority is a weak regulator sitting between two puppies drinking milk from the same saucer and if one does not lick fast enough, it will not get as much as the other one and was made much worse, by the 360 MW contraption, which was turned on last year. Equally on the anticipated famine the advice our technocrats gave ECL are prayers for rain. El Ninõ, the Baby in Spanish is not a new phenomenon. Our technocrats lack…

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  13. HH may sound alarmist but we need to analyse what he is saying especially if we consider what the President said last week that there is a likelihood for Zambia to import maize. So if that possibility is there,why then not to manage well existing stocks to avoid importing using the forex which we do not have? If indeed we have to import maize,it will land at a huge cost,it may come from South America or USA since nearby main producers,South Africa are also facing shortages. Can the Govt first do accurate crop forecasts and tell the national the food security position before proceeding with more exports?Then,HH,countries importing our maize may not be forced to import mealie-meal and keep their industries idol – they will look elsewhere for supply. Is it “feedstock or stockfeed”?

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  14. Comment:and plz mr presido dont warn them instead advice them coz u will nt continue warnin them up to 2026

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  15. Perhaps things got lost in translation! The PF visionaries thought EL NINO is a football team in LA LIGA. Please enlighten them what follows EL NINO – LA NINA!

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  16. same old broken record repeating itself from one professional dancer called kadansa kasaka. we are now tired. Lungu has Met department that feeds him with information on weather thanks.

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    • When the skulls are thick like yours and every PF supporter and the PF itself, the record must repeat.

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  17. In my view this man HH is “all Ice and no berg” – just drifting with the current and looking like he has depth….

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  18. The purpose of a strategic grain reserve is to mitigate drought. It is trange that Zambia Food Reserve Agency sold the reserves before they were sure Zambia would have a normal season in 2016. You do not sell your grain before then. This was unwise and now Zambia has to import maize at greater expense this year.

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  19. Maybe HH and his followers who are mainly from southern live on planet pluto and not in Zambia as all of us are seeing how bad the rains are this year!!(1)LOAD SHEDDING CANNOT END WHILE WE RECEIVE POOR RAINFALL,(2) LOSS OF MINE JOBS WAS A MUST BECAUSE GOVT VIA HH SOLD ZCCM MINE TO PRIVATE FIRMS WHICH CANNOT RETAIN MANY WORKERS WHILE COPPER PRICES ARE VERY LOW.I HEARD THAT TODAY COPPER PRICE DROPPED DOWN TO ITS LOWEST SINCE 2003!!SO WHICH PRIVATE FIRM CAN RETAIN ALL WORKERS WHILE OPERATING AT A LOSS?MINES ARE NO LONGER UNDER ZAMBIAN GOVT!!THEN PRESIDENT EDGAR LUNGU IS RIGHT OVER IMPORTING MAIZE BCOZ WE HAVE A DROUGHT SO MAIZE HARVEST WOULD BE LOW THIS YEAR!so can a senseble politician say anything on these 3 issues? No,this is why many Zambians call hh an under-5 politician as he doesnt…

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  20. HH is a Nay Sayer time and again. There is something very shocking here for an economist to be putting out this sub-standard analysis. Why do we export? To get what…….HH? What do we do with the money we get from our exports? What has Zambia got to export….Copper, Maize some other nonentities right. WE ARE A POOR STRUGGLING COUNTRY. You always talk of what we can BE never telling us how we are. We need some external income from our exports to in turn run our necessary factors…hospitals, schools etc. Maize has a good market, so our hands are tied, we must export it because it is the only good we have that has a high demand.

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    • It’s clear the President has a plan in place. We had various overseas Food Programme Heads visiting here. HE President Lungu has gone to the nation and clearly said there is a plan on hand. HH quit this type of aggro and just be responsible opposition. We now need for all parties to join in to focus on stability not bullying the nation to vote for you before elections. WE NEED TO SELL THE MAIZE. Zambians learn to eat potatoes, mashed potatoes good yum yum. They are easy to grow and harvest. Can be grown in containers easily with a little watering. No Milling required,
      .

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    • Semolina makes good replacement Nshima, and very filling. Potatoes can be dried made to last longer. Can be ground to flour to package for later use. This is the sort of thinking HH should be exhibiting here instead of panicking the nation. WE NEED TO DIVERSIFY OUR NATIONAL DISH FOLKS!

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    • Look at Nigerian food sources for the main dish and it’s alternative…..Pounded Yam, Gari, and fufu on alternative days or as ingredients are available. Expand the palette, and it’s sources. Get real with what you have. Maize is too complex to farm and harvest then to prepare in Mills. Irresponsible people HH are like the Golden Calf as in the bible. Stop worshipping his very illogical pompous nonsense. Church go out to the people and bring calm. We though HH was rich enough to support the whole country the way he goes on! He leads by Fear.

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  21. Let us learn to analyse issues and discuss what one has said in an article. There is no need to be comical every time.

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  22. Can HH mention the day and the statement that he warned about El Nino?
    We all knew at the same time when it was not possible to do anything about it. South Africa heard about it too at the same time, what are you telling ba “economic manager” aba bufi?
    If you were economic manager wachine, you would have invested in your country like Dangote and employed thousands of Zambians, but you think a few millions of kwacha is a passport to State House, No sorry baasa, that is our prerogative as voters!

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  23. @viyazi tembo. You missed the point!!! The article says pf was warned about the Ei nine….as such they should have planned properly instead of exporting the maize.

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