THE Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) says the prices of mealie meal are expected to drop following its consultative meeting with President Lungu in Lusaka two days ago.
MAZ president Andrew Chintala said in an interview yesterday, that a solution to the high prices of the commodity has been found and that modalities would soon be put in place to ensure the reduction becomes a reality.
He declined to give details of the measures MAZ and the government have come up with to ensure the price reduction.
“The meeting was very successful. The President wanted to know the cause of high mealie-meal prices and we explained to him and upon discussions a solution was found. The price will go down but we shall issue a comprehensive statement on the reduction as soon as we finalise talks with the Ministry of Agriculture,” he said.
And Grain Traders Association of Zambia (GTAZ) executive director Chambuleni Simwinga has said the high prices of mealie meal can be attributed to low production of the commodity or smuggling.
“There are two issues at play: either production of mealie meal has gone down or a lot of it is finding itself in border areas. That is the only logical explanation because there is enough maize stock in the country,” he said.
Mr Simwinga urged Government to offload reserve maize to milling companies.
President Lungu on Tuesday met MAZ representatives to find a solution to the increasing prices of mealie meal and directed the Ministry of Agriculture to hold a follow-up meeting with the millers.
Mr Simwinga said the two parties had an open conversation over the price of the staple commodity.
The President emphasised that Government and millers are partners who should always work together to ensure that the interests of the people, especially the poor, are protected.
Prices of mealie meal have in recent months gradually risen from an average of about K70 to K100. In some border towns where the demand for the commodity is high from neighbouring countries, the price is as high as K200.
Meanwhile, Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Kampamba Mulenga has assured the country that the Government is working tirelessly to ensure there is no hunger in the country, despite continued cases of maize and mealie meal smuggling.
Ms Mulenga said Government was closely monitoring and fighting smuggling activities involving the country’s staple food.
“I am assuring the Zambian people that mealie meal will be available and there will be no hunger. As Government, we are tirelessly monitoring the situation and people should not be worried,” she said.
The minister was speaking in her constituency of Kalulushi yesterday after donating school requirements at Twalubuka Primary School.
The donation was arranged in collaboration with Red Arm, a school in South Africa and comprised materials for 100 pupils at Twalubuka; 100 uniforms and 100 pairs of shoes meant for the less privileged pupils.
“As area MP, I have worked in partnership with Red Arm a school in South Africa to help donate the materials to the pupils, “she said.