The Zambian National Farmers Union (ZNFU) dashed consumer hopes for a reduction in mealie-meal prices at the back of a recent deal involving government, millers and grain traders.
ZNFU president Jervis Zimba is doubtful that the deal will result in a reduction of mealie-meal prices.
He says ZNFU established that only a few selected millers were benefitting from the deal government came up with to stabilise rising mealie-meal prices.
“Only 12 of the 78 listed millers were receiving the subsidised maize. This means other millers, who are still incurring high costs of production, decided to stop. That will make the price of mealie-meal shoot up,” Zimba charged.
The ministry of agriculture hasn’t yet commented.
Government, in a bid to stabilise sky-rocketing mealie-meal prices, recently brokered a maize deal with the Food Reserve Agency (FRA), Milliers Association of Zambia (MAZ) and Grain Traders Association of Zambia (GTAZ).
Under the deal the FRA will purchase maize at K2 650 per ton and sell to millers at K2 200 per ton. Government will 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.
It is anticipated that current mealie-meal prices – K130 for a 25kg bag of white and K100 for yellow – will drop to K85 and K70 respectively. This only a few weeks after the deal came into effect.
A random check by africanfarming.com at selected outlets in Lusaka’s central business district however showed prices were still at the same level as before the government-brokered deal.