The high cost of essential commodities in Zambia, particularly mealie meal, has been a cause for concern for many Zambians, and former Health Minister Dr. Chitalu Chilufya is no exception. In an interview last night on the Millennium Tonight show, Dr. Chilufya spoke out on the situation and expressed his fears over the impact it could have on the nation, particularly on the most vulnerable citizens.
“The hunger situation would see a rise in malnutrition cases and possibly lead to deaths if the situation is not contained in the shortest possible time,” warned Dr. Chilufya, who is now the Mansa Central Lawmaker. “The high cost of living has impacted everyone. Government needs to act on people’s concerns.”
Dr. Chilufya also expressed his disappointment with recent remarks made by Vice President Mrs. Mutale Nalumango, who suggested that Zambians should eat roller meal instead of breakfast. He called the statements “insensitive and provocative,” and dismissed the explanation that roller meal has more nutritional value as merely an attempt to justify a deeply hurtful statement.
“We don’t want arrogant answers for people to eat roller meal. Government should not trivialize matters that are of critical importance to the people,” said Dr. Chilufya.
In his interview, Dr. Chilufya emphasized the importance of food security for the nation, calling it a priority that each government must prioritize. “Food security is a priority that each government must pitch high and place premium on,” he said. “To avert the food crisis that is now facing the nation, government should have ensured to distribute inputs on time to farmers. This year we are faced with hunger because government did not distribute inputs on time.”
Dr. Chilufya also pointed to the successes of the Patriotic Front in prioritizing food security, stating that “It is possible for Zambia to achieve food security with visionary leadership because the nation is blessed with arable land for agriculture to thrive.” He explained, “The Patriotic Front prioritized food security and that is why by June and July inputs to secure the next farming season would already be distributed.”
Dr. Chilufya called on the government to come up with policies that shield citizens from distress and to manage determinants of essential commodities, such as mealie meal, to make it easier on the people. He stated, “Government owes it to its citizens to come up with policies that shield its citizens from distress. The cost of mealie meal is at an all-time high. These are ripple effects of having fuel which is at more than K30 per litre. Government has the responsibility to manage determinants of essential commodities to make it easier on its citizens.”
Dr. Chilufya’s words serve as a reminder to the government of the importance of prioritizing food security and the impact that high prices of essential commodities can have on the citizens of Zambia.