By CHILA NAMAIKO –
THE Food Reserve Agency (FRA) management has constituted a special sales committee to oversee applications from millers on the purchase of maize.
FRA executive director Chola Kafwabulula said maize to be purchased by millers should stabilise the shortage of the commodity on the market and help reduce the sharp rise in mealie-meal prices.
Most traders in Lusaka have maintained their prices at K70 for a 25 kilogramme bag of breakfast and K54 for roller meal.
Agriculture and Livestock Minister Bob Sichinga recently said there was no shortage of maize in the country to warrant the increased mealie-meal prices because Zambia currently had over one million tonnes of maize in stock.
Mr Kafwabulula said in an interview yesterday that FRA had offloaded 55,000 tonnes to stabilise the maize supply on the market and mitigate the prices of mealie-meal.
He said the sales committee constituted by FRA management would only consider applications from credible millers to access the commodity.
“We have put these measures to achieve an effect in supply of maize to credible millers which must result in reduction in mealie-meal prices, “he said.
He said the committee would scrutinise applications from millers on quantities of maize required per month and that, before making new orders, the committee would also examine how previous orders were utilised by the millers.
“This process will be transparent, we don’t want chancers, we want to see stabilisation of maize on the market resulting into stabilised mealie-meal prices,” he said.
Mr Kafwabulula said additional maize stocks would only be supplied to the millers once they submitted returns to FRA on how the previous stocks were used.