Friday, June 21, 2024

Government will soon curtail the shortage of mealie meal-Copperbelt Province Minister

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Copperbelt Province Minister Elisha Matambo has expressed optimism that the government will soon curtail the shortage of mealie meal compounded by rampant smuggling of the staple commodity in the province.

Mr. Matambo said the various measures the Government was putting in place such as the frequent offloading of more maize to millers through Food Reserve Agency (FRA) and the enhanced fight against smuggling of mealie meal will bear fruit soon.

He said the Government wants to ensure that mealie meal is readily available on the market at affordable prices.

During a meeting with district Commissioners, mayors and UPND officials at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola on Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Matambo said rampant smuggling has resulted in artificial shortage of mealie meal on the Copperbelt.

Mr. Matambo said UPND structures from the province to branches and all Zambians should get involved in fighting smuggling.

“As we continue fighting smuggling then we offload thousands of confiscated bags of mealie meal impounded by law enforcement agencies and milling plants also start making mealie meal from the 95,000 metric tonnes of maize which has been sent, I see no reason why we will continue having shortage of mealie meal on the Copperbelt. I can see light at the end of the tunnel. If we do these things together the situation will come back to normal. We don’t just want to have enough mealie meal we want to have mealie meal available and affordable,” Mr. Matambo said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Mr. Matambo announced the arrival of Zambia National Service (ZNS) manufactured mealie meal that will be sold to selected Copperbelt towns between K170 and K180 per 25 KG.

Meanwhile, Democratic Governance and Human Rights Advocates (DEGHA) National Coordinator Mutelo Gerald said mealie meal shortage coupled with exorbitant prices is unacceptable and must be addressed quickly by the Government.

Mr. Mutelo said DEGHS was concerned over the shortages of Mealie Meal on the Copperbelt and that the development has resulted in traders taking advantage and selling a 25 kg breakfast Mealie Meal bag at k250, which is beyond the ordinary Zambian citizens buying power.

“We are concerned as an organization over the shortages of Mealie Meal on the Copperbelt and that this development has resulted in traders taking advantage and selling a 25kg breakfast Mealie Meal bag at k250, which is beyond the ordinary Zambian citizens buying power. This is unacceptable and the government must ensure that we have availability of Mealie Meal everywhere which is affordable. Government should be reminded that nshima (mealie meal) is our staple food in Zambia and it must always be available and affordable by everyone, not the rich only. The failure for people to access Mealie Meal will result in hunger and anger by the masses towards the government because it’s the duty and responsibility for the administration to provide for its citizens,” Mr. Mutelo said.

On ZNS produced mealie meal, Mr. Mutelo said it was insufficient to meet the current demand.

“We appreciate the measures of using ZNS to produce and distribute Mealie Meal at K175 per 25Kg Mealie Meal bag of breakfast, however the development is not sustainable because very few are having access to buy the ZNS Mealie Meal. It has created a situation where people have to queue up as if it is voting day and one may be misled thinking it’s a by-election for a parliamentary seat but its people lining up to buy cheap mealie meal. If the situation is not handled well it will lead to stampede one day in buying affordable mealie meal. Government needs to address the mealie meal issue urgently and very well, the new dawn government has scored very well in areas of our economy, social sectors and CDF but the issues of mealie meal if not handled well will make the new dawn government very unpopular with the masses, remember what happened to the UNIP government.”

“We have a ready market for maize and Mealie Meal in Congo DRC, Angola and other countries in southern and eastern African states, what we need is to have state farms and milling plants in each district this will increase production for local demands and the excess can be exported to DRC, Angola and others we can even create revenue for the central and local government. This is an opportunity for councils to be involved in maize mealie meal production by having farms and milling plants managed by councils themselves and they will have a lot of revenue for improved service delivery,” he said.

3 COMMENTS

  1. kkkkkk insala tendimimwa nimpulwa these guys have totally failed and very disponiting with their remarks.But zooona i have never seen this before,you dont have but you are exporting mmmmmm takwaba.What logic? mmmm kkkkk aweeee lekefyo iweeeee.

  2. Fatty, the government has merely suspended exporting maize. In this age you cannot hide anything from the public.

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