Mealie-meal prices are expected to drop by up to K15 per 25kg bag in the coming week. This after the conclusion of a government brokered maize deal with the Food Reserve Agency (FRA), Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) and the Grain Traders Association of Zambia (GTAZ).
Under the new deal the FRA would purchase at K2 650 per ton and sell to millers at K2 200 per ton. Government would absorb 20% of a commodity based subsidy to make up for the difference between FRA’s purchase price from GTAZ and sale price to millers.
Zambian agricultural minister Dora Siliya on Tuesday said government would ensure Zambians had the staple at an affordable price through a sustainable agriculture value chain.
She said FRA had 330 000 tons while GTAZ had 240 000 tons available – enough to sustain Zambia until the next farming season.
Siliya said part of the long term solution to mealie-meal price stability was the promotion of other crops.
“Crops like cassava and millet can give Zambians access to a variety of products to cushion them against unstable mealie-meal prices.”
GTAZ chairperson George Liacopolous said his association was committed to support government in ensuring mealie-meal is available and affordable.
“We are keen to expand our storage capacity to contribute to food security and also maximise regional demand for maize,” he said.
Meanwhile, in what can be seen as a move towards the relaxation of the existing maize export ban, Siliya assured grain traders that government would soon come up with a way to turn the Kasumbalesa Border Post – separating Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo – into an export zone.