Saturday, June 22, 2024

Mealie meal shortage a wakeup call for ministry of Agriculture – CTPD

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The Centre for Trade, Policy and Development (CTPD) says the shortage of mealie meal being experienced in the country is a wakeup call to government.

CTPD Executive Director Isaac Mwaipopo said the situation, which poses a threat to food security and has caused a lot of anxiety among citizens, especially in border towns needs to be acted upon by the Ministry of Agriculture.

This is according to a statement made available to the media by Centre for Trade, Policy and Development Communication Specialist Mwaka Nyimbili in Lusaka today

Mr. Mwaipopo has since advised that government through the Ministry of Agriculture should prioritize meeting the local consumption before attending to the export markets as they wait for the 2023/2024 harvest and marketing season.

He added that government should reconsider its policy decision to import mealie meal, stating that while the move will provide relief in the short term, it is likely to disturb the local producers and manufacturers if implemented long term.

“In order to address this situation which threatens food security, CTPD would like to advise government through the Ministry of Agriculture to consider the following options, to prioritize meeting the domestic consumption requirements before attending to the export market demands, with the strategic reserves now estimated to be around 300,000 metric tons, it will be critical that local consumption needs are prioritized in the short run as the country waits for the 2023/2024 harvest and marketing season,” he said.

Mr. Mwaipopo further proposed that government consider using the Zambia National Service and Zambia Correctional Service to grow alternative crops as the country’s growing population cannot be supported solely by the small scale farmers

He added that government should consider selling cheap maize from the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to state run milling plants and small players as opposed to selling to commercial millers, whom he said are more interested in making a profit and may not pass the full benefit to the end consumer

Mr. Mwaipopo has advised government to ensure full utilization of solar hammer mills to support the millers and further advised that farming inputs be distributed in good time to avoid the mistakes made in the last two farming seasons

“Solar Hammer Mills, revisit the Solar Hammer Mill Project, evaluate the performance and address any bottle necks they may have faced, this initiative still stands a chance to deliver results if well implemented.

“Timely distribution of farming inputs for the 2023/2024 production season, avoid the mistakes made in the last two seasons. Added to this will be the need to urgently conclude on reforms in the agriculture sector. There is need for the public to know what the comprehensive agriculture programme will look like,” he emphasized.

4 COMMENTS

  1. The manner that the agric sector is being mishandled makes us suspect that it’s deliberate. It’s like there are ultra motives to sabotage the sector then take advantage of the resultant chaos to implement policies that will benefit those in charge. It started with the poor handling of FISP and now we might witness a shoddy marketing season. How can FRA decide to buy only 250,000 tonnes of maize in face of widespread mealie meal shortages? Let’s wait and see.

  2. Good luck if they will even find farme rs with Maiz e they won’t even manage to buy even 100,000 metr ic to ns.

    I started eating kandol o for tuff times ahead when there will be no Milli e me al in shel ves soon will be like Zimbabw e during the hyper inflati on that’s when reg imes changes

    Happened in 199 1, 201 1 & 202 1 all because of Maiz e it will be bad if it were to happen sooner

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