POLICE in Chipata have intercepted a Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) train carrying 900 metric tonnes of maize which a Zambia Co-operative Federation (ZCF) official of Kabwe allegedly attempted to smuggle into Malawi.
Eastern Province assistant commissioner of police Christopher Kanema said in an interview yesterday that police have seized 955.75 metric tonnes of maize. The maize is believed to have been procured at subsidized prices from the Food Reserve Agency(FRA).
The trucks loaded with the bags of maize were intercepted in Chipata’s railway station where there were offloading the commodity onto the Zambia Railways wagons.
The Food Reserve Agency on March 12 botched another scam where 8 people attempted to steal 10,000 kg of maize worth 30,000 Kwacha.
Meanwhile Government has instructed mealie meal traders in Choma against selling the commodity to bulk buyers.
Choma District Commissioner Sheena Muleya said the shortage that was experienced recently was as a result of the bulk buyers who re-sell the commodity at the inflated price.
A check in most retail outlets the commodity was in stock with a 25 kg bag of breakfast going for K 76 and the roller meal was K70 while in other outlets the 25 kg bag was K80, and K82.
Ms Muleya advised the retailers not to sell more than five bags of the commodity to individual buyers because some were re-selling the commodity at an inflated price.
“ We have advised mealie meal retail traders against selling the commodity in bulk because that would deprive the majority of the citizens,” she said.
She said the bulk buyers should instead buy the commodity to Choma Milling plant where the commodity was at K70 per 25 kg bag.
The DC also had a meeting with the Company management where they said the low production of the commodity was as a result of the load shedding that the district had experienced in the last few days.
She said the Milling company had continued to produce the commodity despite the electricity challenges and advised them to come up with a working plan so that it continues with the production of the commodity.
“At the moment the demand for mealie meal is high and some may try to politicise this situation I would advise Zesco and Choma Milling to find a work plan so that they should continue with the mealie meal production,” she said.
She said the Company assured government that it would continue selling the commodity to its usual wholesale traders.
The Milling Company gets the more of it maize from Kalomo.