Ministers- Katambo, Chiteme and Mwakalombe, PS Mushuma and Director Lishomwa, 21-02-2019. MNDP
Ministers- Katambo, Chiteme and Mwakalombe, PS Mushuma and Director Lishomwa, 21-02-2019. MNDP

Agriculture Minister Michael Katambo says his Ministry is closely monitoring maize stock levels to ensure that the country has sufficient grain to last us until the next harvest.

Mr. Katambo said his Ministry is not allowing the export of maize and maize products and other wings of government are working with the ministry to ensure that all available stocks remain in the country.

He said smuggling is a serious threat to national food security as it has the potential of creating maize shortages and higher mealie meal prices in the country.

And Mr. Katambo said in a statement that based on the analysis conducted by the ministry, some business houses have been taking advantage of the situation and are adding an abnormal mark upon the wholesale price or rather than the order price of mealie meal.

He says some have been adding between K3 to K4 per 25 kg bag of mealie meal, whereas others are adding more than K50 per 25 kg bag of mealie meal.

Mr. Katambo said this is the major challenge that government is currently addressing and his Ministry has been engaging millers, and from the discussions, millers have agreed to meet this week and strategize on how they can bring the wholesale price of mealie meal closer to consumers.

Meanwhile, Mr Katambo says his ministry has done an analysis that shows that offloading maize by FRA to millers does not benefit consumers.

He said FRA needs to offload huge quantities of maize to have an impact on mealie meal prices a situation that is not sustainable and will deplete the much needed strategic reserves.

Mr Katambo said the government is aware that there are some market players and some sections of society who have caught onto the habit of requesting for supplies from FRA strategic reserves under the pretext that the stocks will reduce mealie meal prices for consumers.

He, however, said despite accessing strategic reserves cheaply, it has not translated into low mealie meal prices.

Mr Katambo said the FRA has very limited stocks, which need to be offloaded prudently and in anticipation of any supply challenges that may arise after February 2020.

He has indicated that the lasting solution to high mealie meal prices is to increase maize production and the ministry is working closely with maize industry stakeholders to ensure they begin to have bumper harvests starting from 2020 and beyond as directed by President Edgar Lungu.

And on the Farmer Input Support Programme, Mr Katambo said the distribution of inputs commenced way before the 1st of September, 2019 and is hopeful to complete this exercise within the month of September.

He said this is a remarkable achievement and has encouraged officers involved to continue working hard.

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11 COMMENTS

  1. …WHY NOT TARGET AND CONTRACT SOME BIG FARMERS TO PRODUCE FOR FOOD SECURITY AND EXPORT,
    USING A SYSTEM SIMILAR TO “FISP”. THEY CAN GROW THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.

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    • I’m on record so many times of calling these millers greedy, some of us have warned the govt before of how these evil millers have manipulated maize prices since the 1980s. It is just that Kaunda was slow, millers are the ones who actually led to his downfall. Now the govt are seeing the writing on the wall, also millers destroyed the farmers in past seasons with their exploitative prices as low as K35 per 50kg, now that govt say they will not sale to millers the millers are crying foul and say they will have to increase their prices. Let’s have a realistic look at what their markup should be otherwise we all know these evil chaps only know how to exploit with their abnormally high prices which do not reflect the price at which they bought the commodity last year from govt and even at…

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    • Ctn… and even at this year’s high price a 25kg bag should not fetch the high prices we see it going at today. Arrest them or just deport these miller thieves send them back to Congo or Greece where they originally come from, we are tired. Tired of their exploitation..and what do they even do with the millions they have made? They send that money to Congo or to Greece, no enough is enough, nationalise or set in strict operating controls that see to it no exploitation of farmers because this is what is causing farmer not to grow maize, how do you as a farmer grow maize when the miller wants to dictate to govt the price and yet the evil millers never even set a price that reflects the low price they buy the commodity at? To hell with these disgusting cretins that have killed hard…

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    • Ctn… To hell with these disgusting cretins (the millers) who have killed hard working farmers with the exploitative ways.

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  2. The major threat to the national food security isn’t smuggling but the manner in which you’re running the maize sector. People are not willing to sell maize to FRA because of how they’ve been treated the last 2 seasons. Tell us how many tonnes FRA has brought so far. Smuggling has been and will always be there but it’s usually restricted to the Katanga province of DRC. Just sort out the mess you have created

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  3. If I were you Kantambo, I would ask Zambians to plant more Maize now under irrigation for harvest in November to December! The reason why Maize has become a political crop is because we farm just once every year! Our fields are left to idle most of the year! Late Levy Mwanawasa was a wise man who taught us the concept of Winter Maize! We by now should have empowered our people to grow crops all year round by incentivising them with good market prices for their crops for them to afford irrigation technology! We need also to bring back Lima Bank where our Farmers can be able to afford low interest loans! We need to abolish FISP and the e-voucher jokes and empower farmers in real terms! Imagine what can happen if Zambia was to have another 7 years of drought? Don’t rely on weather…

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  4. Don’t rely on weather forecasts of today. They may tell you we’ll have normal rainfall but with what is happening around the world, we know that you can receive the entire season’s rain in one day in form of floods! We should by now be investing in building more Dams across the country and investing in irrigation canals that don’t depend much on electricity! How is Israel managing to be Food secure in a desert and we are failing with all these rivers around us? DRC is a good market that we must take advantage of! Criminalizing Maize exports means fewer farmers will be growing the crop leading to chronic shortages of the political grain! Let’s be wise about climate change and its impact on our food security! Lastly, how many of our current serving PF leaders have farms? Could this…

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  5. Lastly, how many of our current serving PF leaders have farms? Could this explain why Agriculture under PF is dead?

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  6. Still talking about smuggling in the 21sr century? Unbelievable!

    With proper management of the agro sector the word should be Exporting not Smuggling. Fya mwa Kaunda ifyo ifya kuti smuggling … smuggling.

    Instead of taking advantage of our strategic location as a hub of eight hungry neighbors, and export agro products to them to earn the much needed dollar, we’re doing the opposite.

    What big sin have we committed that has attracted this curse for self-inflicted poverty?

    Tiyeni uko nachi FRA.

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    • You are absolutely right. The emphasis should be developing the agro sector, by putting in place an enabling environment – road infrastructure , processing plants etc.

      The minister is fixated on maize production only and thinks his President can direct farmers to produce a bumper harvest . They also seem to know what the rain pattern will be in the coming rain season.

      By the way what happened to the promise that National Service would be mass producing maize and wheat? And the solar hammer mills ? We have NOT forgotten about ALL these FALSE promises.

      This government looks like they can not even plan for a circle of one year!

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  7. Third world country… Food insecurity…. No electricity… Again import from South Africa. Xenophobes must be doing something right….

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