Zambia is experiencing a mealie meal shortage, which has prompted the government to take action. The Zambia Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI) is urging its members to take advantage of the government’s move to allow the importation of mealie meal and to utilize the quickened process related to the acquisition of import permits. This will help avert the situation and satisfy the overwhelming demand for mealie meal in the country.
ZACCI President Chabuka Kawesha has called on all provincial chambers, district chambers, and member associations to take the message to local business communities and respond to the call to import the commodity to meet local demand. If there are any unseen rigidities at this stage, members can send feedback directly to the Ministry of Agriculture, or its various representative points or through local chambers.
In addition, Agriculture Minister Reuben Mtolo has disclosed that the government will release 65,000 metric tonnes of maize to millers this week to suppress the current demand for mealie meal. Although Zambia has sufficient grain to last the country for another one to two months, Mr. Mtolo is concerned about the pressure from neighboring countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania that do not have enough maize stock. This is creating anxiety and may cause current stocks to deplete if nothing is quickly done.
However, the government has put measures in place, such as strengthening the monitoring of border areas, to reduce the continued illegal smuggling of mealie meal into neighboring countries, which will help in protecting the available maize stock. The government will also allow mealie meal exports to help other countries in need of the commodity at a given period of time.