Siavonga residents have bemoaned the increased prices of mealie meal on the local market. The residents have since called on the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to release more maize to the local millers in the district in order to stabilise the cost.
One of the senior citizens in Siavonga district, Lucia Mwenda of Kaleya township, told ZANIS that mealie meal have become very expensive in the district due to the short supply of maize.
Ms Mwenda complained that a 10 kilogramme bag of breakfast mealie meal is now costing between K95 and K110 while a 25 kilogramme bag of roller meal is selling at K230.
“Mealie meal is expensive to buy, government should come to our aid. As a senior citizen, where will I find money to help me to take care of the orphans, l am a farmer and my crops dried up due to a dry spell,” she said.
She has since called on the FRA to consider supplying maize to local millers in the district so that mealie meal prices can be reduced.
Ms Mwenda said retailers are saying the rise in the mealie meal prices is as a result of the high cost of transport which they incur when they order the commodity from Lusaka.
Another senior citizen in Kaleya area, Melesiana Zimba, called on government to quickly provide maize grain to the district as mealie meal has become unaffordable to buy.
“As old as l am, l sell door mats at K20 each and people do not buy every day and mealie meal is now at K110 or 120 for a K10 kg breakfast bag. Now with my door mat business how will l manage to take care of my three orphans,” Ms Zimba lamented.
Ms Zimba stated that government should quickly intervene and address the mealie meal prices with local millers so that they can start producing the commodity in the district.
She feared that the district may soon start experiencing an increase in crime rate if the price of mealie meal does not stabilise soon.
She said most people lost their livelihoods due to crop failure this farming season.
And a Siavonga youths, Joseph Katongo, of Game township also urged government to consider setting up a Zambia National Service (ZNS) depot or milling plant so that cheap mealie meal can be provided to the residents” Ms Katongo suggested.
Meanwhile, Siavonga District Commissioner, Geoffrey Jakopo, said government is aware of the increasing prices of mealie meal in the district.
Mr Jakopo said plans have been put in place to partner with the local millers so that FRA can start supplying maize to them as a way of addressing the escalating prices of mealie meal prices in Siavonga.
He also said plans are under way for ZNS to establish milling depots in the district.
“As government, we are not pleased with the rising mealie meal prices in the district and to this effect, we will partner with the local miller so that FRA can supply maize and the retailers stop ordering the commodity from outside,” he said.
Mr Jakopo warned mealie meal retailers and residents against entertaining Zimbabweans buying mealie meal in bulk.
“I am sending a warning to Siavonga mealie meal shop owners and Siavonga residents smuggling mealie meal to Zimbabwe to stop immediately to avoid unnecessary mealie meal shortage in Siavonga district,” Mr Jakopo cautioned.