Mealie meal prices in several parts of the country have hit an all-time high and are now selling at an historic high of more than K107 per 25Kg.
A market survey revealed that some super markets in Lusaka, Chipata, Livingstone and Solwezi are now selling a 25Kg of breakfast mealie meal between K105 and K107.
Roller meal in most outlets surveyed in Lusaka is now selling between K75 and K85.
This is the highest that mealie meal, Zambia’s staple food has fetched in the country’s history.
In March 2011, a 25Kg bag of breakfast mealie meal was selling at K37, a few months before the PF wrestled power from the MMD.
And the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, a US funded project has warned that food insecurity situation is likely to deteriorate in a few areas in the southeast and southwest as poor households fail to meet non-food essentials without resorting to irreversible coping strategies.
In its latest food situation report, FEWSNET said given the expected high level of maize prices in the coming months, household purchasing power will continue to reduce from now until the start of the main harvest.
Approximately 975,738 people have been identified as requiring food assistance between August 2016 and March 2017.
The government will provide assistance to households using FRA maize stocks and the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) will coordinate this relief effort. The relief distribution has not yet started.
“Given the record maize purchasing prices, both maize grain and maize meal prices are expected to trend at very high levels during the October to March period. Using both technical and fundamental analysis, maize retail prices are likely to trend steadily upwards between October and November and then more steeply up to the peak lean period (January-February),” the report stated.
It said, “During the months of October-February, prices are likely to remain above previous season levels and at least 60 percent above average, decreasing between the months of March-May with the arrival of the green harvest in March and the main harvest in April/May.”
FEWSNET said during the remainder of the 2016/17 marketing season, private traders will continue dominating the market given the failure by the Food Reserve Agency to secure much maize.
“Consequently, the large traders will hold most of the stocks and therefore drive the market for the remaining duration of the outlook. It is unlikely that the government will subsidize millers with maize during the outlook period given their low stock position. Millers will need to source most maize directly from traders, therefore maize market interventions (including FRA’s supply of subsidized maize to millers) will remain lower than usual.”