Former Commerce Minister Felix Mutati has observed that the solar milling plants which have been littered around the country by government are more of decorations along roadsides as opposed to their intended purpose of playing a role in the reduction of mealie meal prices in the country.
And Mr Mutati says the PF government should stop playing with the lives of the people and deal with the challenge of escalating mealie meal prices and unavailability of the commodity.
Speaking in an interview Mr Mutati said it would have been prudent for the PF government to first deal with production of maize instead of setting up milling plants which are becoming white elephants especially in Northern Province.
He explained that there is no investment which begins with the end process before looking at the production side of the products.
“We have the issue of solar plants that have been littered all over the place. These things we were told are beginning to make a difference but the reality on the ground particularly on the Northern Province is that these things are not producing mealie meal so they are becoming more like decorations by the road sides.
“In any investment that you do you don’t start with the end process you start with the production so the concentration should have been on the productive capacity. How do we enhance the productive capacity of maize in order to have sufficient output to be consumed by our people.
“Now what we are seeing is a blame game that people are smuggling, that they are exporting that is purely an indication that at the level of management of the product we have a lot of gaps and my advise to government is let them get there act together because this is a serious problem which affects the ordinary person on a daily basis and we can’t play any more with issues of 1:lack of stoke and 2: hiking prices,”he said
He challenged government to explain to the nation why the country is facing mealie meal shortages when it has said that the stokes are enough and millers have also indicated that they have the capacity to produce more.
“Even during the last seating of Parliament we were assured by the Minister of agriculture that the country has enough maize stokes and that there was no cause for alarm, there was no cause for panic and that he had the whole act of both maize to be distributed to the millers and of stokes being available until the next crop.
So there are two key issues that remains unanswered whether the information that he was feeding into Parliament that is sufficient stoke is indeed accurate. If that information is accurate, where is the bottle neck in the distribution chain of maize to the various millers because the millers have indicated that it is not lack of capacity but lack of stoke,” he wondered.