Mealie meal shortages and price hikes draws condemnation from consumer society

The Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) has condemned the recent mealie meal shortages and price hikes in some parts of the Copperbelt province.

CUTS international board Chairperson Love Mtesa says 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.

Ambassador Mtesa told ZANIS in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that, maize is essential because it is a staple food for most Zambians. He said abrupt changes in prices of mealie meal negatively affects the wellbeing of people in the country.

He explained that the reported shortages and price hikes of the commodity is unjustified as the country has enough maize stocks as evidened from the consecutive bumper harvest recorded in the past few years.

Ambassador Mtesa charged that the current situation is against government’s policies of fighting hunger and should be stopped at all costs. Some parts of the Copperbelt have been hit by mealie meal shortages forcing some traders to hike the price to as much as K70, 000 per 25 Kilograms of breakfast meal.

Meanwhile, some millers on the Copperbelt have attributed the shortage to inadequate maize supply to depots by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA).The millers have alleged that the Agency has concentrated much on exporting the commodity at the expense of the local depots.

But when contacted for a comment FRA spokesperson Mwamba Siame refuted the allegations saying it is not the duty of the agency to supply maize to depots for millers.Ms. Siame explained that FRA is specifically meant for national reserves therefore should not be held responsible for the shortage of maize in depots.

She added that FRA has not yet started exporting the maize as alleged.

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