Minister of Agriculture, Michael Katambo, has refuted claims that the government has reintroduced price controls on maize.
Mr Katambo has noted that where grain is concerned, Zambia has a liberalized economy and market hence farmers have the right to sell as they wish in situations where they find a better market.
The Minister has however stated that the government has had to engage millers and other stakeholders on the escalating prices of maize, adding that it is a matter of great concern knowing that maize is the country’s staple food.
He told journalists in Lusaka today that government did not dictate to the millers, manufacturers or the Grain Traders Association of Zambia, with regards to the price of maize, but that it was a measure of engaging each other in trying to find a solution to stabilize the purchase of the country’s staple food.
Mr Katambo added that the meeting therefore overwhelmingly decided that a bag of maize was to be bought at K130 which should see the price of roller meal ranging between K80 and K90 and breakfast ranging from K100 to less than K115 which is affordable to all Zambians.
He observed that people have been complaining about the escalating prices of mealie meal, and it was the mandate of government to engage players in the maize sub-sector, in order to put a stoppage to the situation and bring about an amicable solution.
The Minister commended the stakeholders that were engaged in a meeting, stating that the development was done in a spirit of patriotism, and urged many other citizens to come on board and support the noble cause.
The Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) President, Jervis Zimba, in a statement issued in Lusaka yesterday, accused the Minister of Agriculture of reintroducing price controls on maize.
Mr Zimba further claimed that Mr Katambo met with Stockfeed Producers, Millers, and Traders and threatened or coerced them to impose the price of K130 per 50kilogram bag of maize with full support from the Food Reserve Agency (FRA), done on the basis of price controls.