The Zambia’s Food Reserve Agency (FRA) says it will not release maize to millers because there is enough on the open market.
FRA Executive Director Chola Kafwabulula said there was an estimated 3 million tons of maize on the market from last season’s bumper harvest of 3.6 million.
“There is still maize out there, and we should not be given an impression that there isn’t enough. Our mandate is very clear, we only release strategic reserves when there isn’t enough on the market to stabilise the price of mealie meal,” he said.
The Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) recently called on the FRA to reserve maize stocks on the market, saying there was a shortage that would drive the price of mealie meal up.
However, stakeholders, including the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) and Grain Traders Association of Zambia (GTAZ), said the claim by millers was an attempt to access cheaper grain from the national strategic reserves.
Zambia consumes about 1.4 million tons of maize per year. This leaves sufficient stocks for strategic reserves and export.