Agriculture Minister Reuben Mtolo has denied reports that his ministry has granted permission for the importation of 125,000 metric tons of wheat. Earlier today, the Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) expressed shock at the ministry’s decision to allow for the importation of wheat despite local farmers producing adequate wheat stocks for national consumption.
However, Mtolo told Phoenix News that as far as he is concerned, there is no permission that has been granted to any company or individual to import wheat. Mtolo explained that although he has not been briefed yet on the latest resolutions of the stock monitoring committee, which the ZNFU is a part of, such a decision, if true, is ineffective. He added that when he inquired about the matter with Ministry Permanent Secretary Green Mbozi, the controlling officer also expressed ignorance of the purported permits for wheat importation.
In a press statement released yesterday, the ZNFU argued that the decision to import wheat goes against the government’s own encouragement for farmers to expand wheat production and will not create jobs within the country. The union also questioned the rationale behind the decision, stating that there is no current crisis in the wheat industry that would warrant such a move. The ZNFU raised concerns about the process by which the decision was made, claiming that it was made at a hastily organized meeting with no physical verification of stock levels and without proper consultation with industry stakeholders.
The ZNFU also highlighted the benefits of the import substitution strategy that the country has pursued in the wheat value chain, which has been successful and envied by other countries. They called on the government to reconsider its decision to import wheat and to instead allow the wheat industry stakeholders to determine if there are any grounds for such a move. The union has previously written to the Ministry of Agriculture on the matter, but their letters have gone unanswered. They have now called on the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture to respond to their concerns and to reconstitute the stock monitoring committee with a focus on its intended objectives, rather than serving the interests of a select few.
All over the world customs control is a state function. If Agriculture minister Reuben Mtolo Phiri wants to find out who has imported wheat, a simple phone call to the ZRA commissionor-general would give him the answer and ZRA would thank the minister for having been of help to him.
@Gunner, the minister is waiting for instructions and phone number from HH to make a phone call to ZRA.
It is a very tough Ministry.
Watoloka imisu wanyanta pamafi….cry my beloved country….Chipante pante Government is destroying Zambia…this Reuben Mtolo is a known Bandit …I know him personally from Chipata
ACC needs to investigate………….
Looks like someone is getting bribes…….
Very competent and good Minister of Agriculture this one, even these delayed inputs were just beyond him. I am nonpartisan but even PF at the beginning were delaying inputs big time, I am not justifying the delay, but PF must be last to cry blue murder
A irresponsible government
Something fishy here. This requires a comprehensive written response from the Ministry of Agriculture. Why would letters on the matter from ZNFU go unanswered??!!! This behaviour is inconsistent with the general spirit of the President. We demand competency, transparency and accountability from our leaders and top technocrats!
If their president is a liar you cannot expect any less from his subordinate.
You constipated upnd voters, how does it feel to go to sleep without electricity and wake up in darkness? Here I am enjoying my powerful generator. You thought you were punishing us in pf by voting in crooks like hh but it’s you suffering hahahaha. Hh said that he will end loadsheading within a year of assuming power. That f00I is the biggest liar. Let him resign. I submit
HH needs to reshuffle his cabinet these guys have become to relaxed..how can the whole ministry not know about 125 metric tonnes imported into the country. Can someone go to ZRA and give the details of the company then go to Registry office and see who the Directors of that company are? Cross check them with officials at the Ministry.
These are stories the opposition should be concerned about not about thieves like Aaron Chungu and Katele Kalemba
ZNFU members are just exploiting consumers and they want the status quo to remain so that they continue exploiting with their high prices in the monopoly. Let people import and see how prices come down.
You try importing stuff to other countries and see how they protect their markets and turn you away…you think growing and harvesting wheat is like mangoes..there are costs involved. Support your local farmers!!
I am fast losing confidence in this Minister. He she should be on top of things and have figures of essential crops at his finger tips. This new year, we should not be tolerating this mediocrity.
This is serious… It’s a scandal. This type of ignorance is worrying. Where is Chushi kasanda? She must be on top of things…
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