Maize exports no excuse for mealie meal price hike
Published On October 9, 2015 » 1870 Views» By Davies M.M Chanda » Letters to the Editor
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The millers have time and again always wanted to blackmail the GHovernment when it comes to the pricing of mealie meal.
Whenever the millers see an opportunity to increase the price for the staple crop, they always want to seize that opportunity. This time around, millers want to use the excuse of the private sector exporting maize as a reason to increase mealie meal prices.
This excuse is lame in all dimensions. The millers say the international maize buyers have inflated the prices of maize and are buying off all the grain from the farmers, leaving them with no stocks.
The millers are not being sincere on this argument. They are saying that they will increase the price of mealie meal if the Government does not ban the private sector from exporting maize.
One thing the millers ought to be reminded of is that this is a free market economy and the laws of supply and demand are at play. The only reason why the Government comes in to intervene in this sector has to do with politics of the stomach.
Maize is a staple food which every Zambian is heavily dependant on. So the Government has every right to ensure that Zambians get mealie meal at reasonable prices.
The Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has enough maize stocks even from previous harvests which the millers can buy if they want. At this point, Zambia needs a lot of forex, and the exports of maize by the private sector is one of the remedies towards stabilising the value of the local currency.
In as much as the millers want to make profits, they should have the heart of compassion towards the people who depend on mealie meal. K90 per 25kg is way out of this world as at now.
Besides, the maize in question was produced when the Kwacha was firm and the inputs and other requirements were at that old rate. The Government should not allow the millers to increase the prices.

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