MILLERS ASK GOVT TO BAN MAIZE, MEALIE MEAL EXPORTS
Written by Millennium on August 24, 2019
PETER SICHALI writes
LOCAL millers in Isoka have appealed to government to immediately ban export of maize and mealie meal to curtail the skyrocketing mealie meal prices.
Vichili Vikwiza Milling Limited director Elijah Sinkolongo said there was need for government to quickly move in and put measures in place to stop export of maize to the neighbouring countries.
Mr Sinkolongo told the Sun in an interview that most areas in Muchinga Province did not record good harvest as compared to previous seasons and allowing exports of the grain without any control measures would plunge Zambia in hunger.
He said the rate at which export of maize to Tanzania and Malawi was happening on daily basis was worrying hence the need for government to put in control measures.
“As local millers we very concerned with the rate at which export of maize is happening here in Isoka and neighbouring districts like Nakonde and Mafinga,
“Dozens of trucks loads of the country’s staple food are leaving the Zambia for Tanzania and Malawi when mealie meal prices have skyrocketed,” Mr Sinkolongo said.
Mr Sinkolongo said some parts of Zambia did not receive enough rains resulting in hunger, adding therefore that the nation could not continue allowing the export of maize without any control.
Mr Sinkolongo said the export of maize has already pushed up the prices of maize on the local market.
He said a tin of maize was fetching K12 and was likely to increase further if export of maize was allowed to continue.
Mr Sinkolongo said dozens of foreign brief case buyers from Malawi and Tanzania had set camps in Mafinga, Isoka and Nakonde to buy maize from local farmers at K150 for farmers in Isoka and at about K170 per 50 kg bag for those in Nakonde.
“What is worrying the most is that the Food Reserve Agency may not meet their targets in these areas because foreign brief case buyers are buying maize at a price higher than that of FRA,” he said.
Mr Sinkolongo said prices of maize would escalate further if nothing was done to curtail export of maize and mealie meal.
He advised retailers buying mealie meal from his company for resale not to exploit people by exaggerating the prices of the commodity.
“We have advised retailers that are buying mealie meal from us not to sell at higher prices because they are ordering at cheap prices and they are not incurring any further costs because we are delivering the commodity to their door steps,” Mr Sinkolongo said.
He has also advised other millers no to exaggerate the prices of the country’s staple food.