Saturday, June 22, 2024

Mundubile Urges Government to Engage Commercial Farmers for Winter Maize to Avert Food Crisis

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Leader of the opposition in Parliament and Patriotic Front (PF) party presidential hopeful Brian Mundubile has told the Government to instantly engage commercial farmers to consider growing winter maize before the food shortage deteriorates into a crisis of uncontrollable levels.

Mr. Mundubile, the Mporokoso Member of Parliament, said the current mealie meal situation might worsen without winter maize because Zambia is likely to record poor harvests this season due to low rainfall and pitiable distribution of farming inputs.

He said the current mealie- meal shortage could have been avoided had the Government listened to the many pleas that many Zambians made, especially Members of Parliament on the Floor of the House regarding farming inputs distribution and export of maize.

Mr. Mundubile said the Government, however, remained adamant leading to the current situation.

“Government must admit that there is a problem, which is the mealie meal shortage. One of the key solutions is for the Government to engage commercial farmers so that they can grow winter maize,” he said.

Mr. Mundubile said the next problem is that there was going to be food shortages right across the country.

He said the country now needed a durable solution away from the Government giving contradictory statements and importing Genetically Modified Organisms – GMOs.

Mr. Mundubile said the country had a lot of commercial farmers that the Government should engage to appreciate why they were not growing winter maize on their own.

“Government should address their challenges in order to cure this current food crisis expeditiously,” he said.

Mr. Mundubile said one of the biggest problems that commercial farmers may have was the cost of electricity as fields would not be rain-fed, thereby needing a lot of energy to produce crops.

He said the farmers could be motivated to grow winter maize if the Government could come in to incentivize the cost of electricity.

“On behalf of the MPs and indeed my party, we feel very strongly about going forward and finding a solution to this food crisis,” he said.

Meanwhile, PF Copperbelt Provincial Chairperson Nathan Chanda Bwalya said the Government should quickly address the shortage of mealie meal that has hit some parts of the country.

Former Luanshya Mayor said the recent shortages and subsequent price increase of mealie meal will have a negative impact on many consumers who normally depend on mealie meal as their staple food.

“Critical shortage of mealie meal has hit some parts of the Copperbelt Province with consumers queuing up when buying Zambia’s staple commodity. People in selected parts of Luanshya, Ndola, Kitwe Chililabombwe, Chingola, Kalulushi, Chambeshi and Mufulira have complained over the inadequate supply of mealie meal coupled with hiked prices in retail shops. People are now found queuing up for a bag of mealie meal in Roan and other parts of Luanshya, Chimwemwe in Kitwe, Chifubu and Kawama Markets in Ndola. What is more disheartening in most retail shops, a 25 KG of breakfast mealie meal was fetching between K200 to K255 and above in others places. I wish to condemn the recent mealie meal shortages and price hikes in some parts of the Copperbelt province. The recent shortages and subsequent price increase will have a negative impact on many consumers who normally depend on mealie meal as their staple food. Abrupt changes in prices of mealie meal negatively affects the wellbeing of people in the country,” Mr. Bwalya said.

“The shortages and price hikes of the commodity is unjustified as the country has enough maize stocks as evidenced from the consecutive bumper harvest recorded in the past few years. Not only that, the Minister of Agriculture is on record and was even boasting on the floor of the house that the government will not stop exporting Maize. Today we are hearing of importing the same commodity. If this is true then it’s very sad. The minister of agriculture must come out clearly. On this matter, is it exporting so that we import or what? The current situation has been taken advantage of by these unscrupulous traders but this is against the government’s policies of fighting hunger and should be stopped at all costs. Let’s not politicise this sad situation because it’s affecting millions of poor Zambians who depend on maize as a staple food. I therefore appeal to the government to quickly find a solution through consented efforts,” he concluded.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Mundubile with no farming experience is telling a Commercial farmer to engage other Commercial farmers on what crops to grow.. Note sure how this would work

  2. This man is very dull. During their tenure of office, commercial farmers planted winter maize. But because electricity supply via ZESCO to run irrigation equipment was irratic, farmers made terrible losses. I know commercial farmers who have vowed never to do winter maize while depending on ZESCO electricity supply. Now he wants to appear like a concerned leader?

    VORSEK.

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