Central PS accuses millers in Kabwe of hording mealie-meal
By Staff Reporter
CENTRAL Province Permanent Secretary Bernard Chomba has accused millers in Kabwe of hording mealie-meal in order to create artificial shortages.
And Zambia News & Information Services report that the department of social services in Mongu, Western Province has received 600 x 50 kgs bags of D-Compound fertilizer, under the Food Security Pack Programme.
Chomba claimed that some millers were hording mealie-meal with the hope that government would lift the export ban on the commodity for them to export it to the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where it fetches more money.
Chomda claimed the discovery was made following a conducted tour of some milling companies in Kabwe on Wednesday and subsequent meeting with Food Reserve Agency (FRA) regional marketing coordinator Martin Mangenda.
“This follows media reports that the price of the staple food was skyrocketing in the provincial capital. We have discovered that some millers are holding onto the mealie-meal with the hope that the Government will lift the export ban on mealie-meal so that they can export the commodity to the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC),” he said.
Chomba has assured that the region had enough maize and mealie-meal and urged the public not to panic. He further told the millers to seek audience with his office in case of any issues that are forcing them to hike mealie-meal prices.
He explained that some millers that were visited complained that the refusal by the FRA to release some maize to millers had forced them to shut down their milling machines because they could not manage to buy from traders.
However, Mangenda said it was surprising that millers could claim to have no maize when they bought more grain than the Agency in the last crop marketing season.
He said FRA was however offloading the maize through community sales adding that the Agency was currently releasing the commodity in Serenje district which had applied for the subsidized commodity.
Meanwhile, Mongu district community development officer Silumesi Sitali disclosed that the district was still expecting to receive 960 x 50kgs bags of Urea fertilizer to complete the whole consignment.
Sitali said the district had a target to supply fertilizer to 480 farmers with each one expected to receive a bag of Urea and D compound with an additional 10 kgs of maize seed, 10 kgs of groundnuts and 10 kgs bag of beans.
She named the targeted beneficiary areas in the district as Mabumbu, Mukoko, Katongo, Sefula, Namushekende, Tapo and Nalwei, Kaande, Kalundwana, Imalyo and Lwatembo.
The Ministry of Community Development and Social Services is implementing the food security pack programme that targets vulnerable but viable farmers by giving them farming inputs such as fertilizer, cereal and legume seeds.