Export 20% mealie meal, millers told
Written by millennium on March 30, 2021
OLIVER SAMBOKO writes
GOVERNMENT has allowed millers in the country to export 20 percent of their mealie meal to the foreign market.
Agriculture Minister Michael Katambo however said only millers with own maize will be allowed to participate under the arrangement as per agreement with the Millers Association of Zambia.
He assured the country that maize stocks including the FRA strategic reserves indicated that the country was food secure up to October 2021.
Mr Katambo advised millers interested in exporting maize to source their own maize from the open market where maize is readily available.
Meanwhile, Zambia Consumer Association (ZACA) executive secretary Zuba Sakala has warned that lifting the ban on export of Mealie meal if not well handled may trigger food shortages and price hikes of the staple food,
Mr Sakala said government should tread with caution before allowing export of mealie meal to avoid causing a serious disruption in food supply chain.
He said the lifting of mealie meal export ban has also potential to cause serious food insecurity apart from spurring price hikes further as millers will resort to selling their products outside to earn more profit.
“Before lifting the export ban on mealie meal, Government should have ensured that all the loopholes are sealed to avoid abuse of the program by some unscrupulous individuals who want to take advantage of a good intention,” said Mr Sakala.
He said while his association was not totally against export of excess mealie meal, but of the view that Government should ensure the exports are restricted so that it does not affect local supply.
“Millers will concentrate on exporting because they will be making more money from exports than they are fetching on the local market,” he said adding that this will also certainly result in the shortage of mealie meal in the country.
Mr Sakala said Government should also ensure that a more comprehensive study is done to ascertain the amount of maize stocks in the country before any export of mealie meal is allowed.
Mr Sakala said only millers should be allowed to export because allowing everyone to do so will trigger mealie meal shortage.
“Once this happens, the people to suffer are the majority poor who will not be able to afford the high price of the staple food,” he said.