by Sipilisiwe Ncube on 16 Jul 2019by Julia Malunga on 16 Jul 2019by Mukosha Funga on 15 Jul 2019by Mirriam Chabala on 15 Jul 2019
- Goal Diggers
by Natasha Sakala on 15 Jul 2019by Natasha Sakala on 12 Jul 2019by Ulande Nkomesha on 11 Jul 2019by Mirriam Chabala on 9 Jul 2019
by Zondiwe Mbewe on 16 Jul 2019by Zondiwe Mbewe on 12 Jul 2019by Zondiwe Mbewe on 11 Jul 2019by Zondiwe Mbewe on 10 Jul 2019
- Editor's Choice
by Diggers Correspondent on 24 May 2019by Diggers Reporter on 4 Mar 2019by Andyford Mayele Banda on 29 Jan 2019by Davies Mwila on 22 Jan 2019
by Diggers Editor on 16 Jul 2019by Diggers Editor on 14 Jul 2019by Diggers Editor on 13 Jul 2019by Diggers Editor on 10 Jul 2019
by Web Master on 27 Jun 2019by Mirriam Chabala on 26 Jun 2019by Martha Mwanza and Felix Kashweka on 21 Jun 2019by Zondiwe Mbewe on 7 Jun 2019
- Guest Diggers
by Dr Chisoni Mumba, PhD on 22 Jun 2019by Chewe Chishala on 22 Jun 2019by Chibamba Kanyama on 11 Jun 2019by Chibamba Kanyama on 28 May 2019
Lifting of mealie meal export ban will hurt local consumers – Agro expertBy Stuart Lisulo on 22 Mar 2019
Mealie meal shortages being experienced in some parts of the country should prompt government to revise the recent lifting of the export ban of the commodity, says agro expert Simon Mwamba.
And the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) says the lifting of the mealie meal export ban may negatively impact on the poorest who solely rely on maize meal.
Zambia has experienced intermittent shortages of mealie meal, particularly in drought-hit areas of the country in recent days, where prices of the commodity have sharply risen to over K100 per 25Kg breakfast bag.
In areas such as Kalomo District, Southern Province, prices of the commodity have been exacerbated due to inconsistent supply to the local market.
This development also follows a major policy pronouncement by Agriculture Minister of the lifting of the ban on mealie meal exports earlier this month.
In an interview, Mwamba, formerly the Eastern and Southern Africa Small-scale Farmer’s Forum (ESAFF) country co-ordinator, noted that price escalations of the commodity partly pointed to the export ban lifting, and argued for the need to revise the policy to assess the availability of stocks in the country.
“I think we have a challenge on where most of the time, government makes decisions based on who is advocating for what. I know very well that this lifting of the ban has been the cry of the millers and the grain traders. But I believe that a critical look should also have a clear focus on what we want to do because, ultimately, what we should have done was to look at a quota arrangement where certain quantities should have been declared to be open for exports, unlike just saying the ban has been opened, (lifted),” Mwamba told News Diggers! in an interview.
“It makes business sense for those in business. But, ultimately, looking at the situation we are in: whilst we have Southern Province, Central, Western Province, Lusaka and parts of Eastern Province, where we definitely are having a shortfall; the question we are having is that, are we food secure to go into that (lifting of export ban)? Because we need to look at the stocks that have and see where we are going,” he noted.
He explained that interruptions in mealie meal supply would inevitably impact the retail price.
“So, I believe there’s need to undertake a critical assessment of the stocks that we have and how that may impact (on food security) because even with the stocks that we have, definitely, when we start receiving reports of certain places running out (of mealie meal), that becomes an opportunity for some to increase the retail prices. This in the end will hurt the consumers and that is my worry. It would have been better to (lift) that ban by assuring we have a quota. For me, it does need revision looking at what the situation is in the country to assess the stocks that we have,” said Mwamba.
“I believe that a quota in terms of the quantities that we need to export should be put in place. Otherwise, everyone will happy to make dollars and sell! And with what has happened in Zimbabwe and Malawi with the floods (from Cyclone Idai), there will definitely be a demand in the region, but we need to be careful that we don’t starve ourselves.”
And JCTR stated that the lifting of the export ban on mealie meal may negatively impact on the poorest who solely rely on maize meal.
“This ban may impact negatively on the poorest of the poor who solely rely on maize meal. The current unpredictable weather patterns could have an effect on the production of maize, which might affect the price of mealie meal. Lifting of the ban during a dry spell period may threaten food security and possibly cause an upward rise of the cost of mealie-meal locally,” stated JCTR in a press statement.
“With the already high cost of living in Zambia, lifting of the ban could further increase the cost of living if not well managed as most households would now have to pay more for mealie meal due to increase in prices. With the lifting of the ban, producers would most likely prefer the export (foreign) market, where they would earn more, to the local one. This would significantly reduce the availability of the commodity locally thereby causing an increase in the price locally.”
The national average prices of the staple commodity have been stable, but have steadily increased to a one-year high, with a 25Kg breakfast bag now costing an average K93.36 per 25Kg breakfast bag by last month from K69.72 for the same quantity one year prior, according to Central Statistical Office (CSO) data.
About Stuart Lisulo
Stuart Lisulo is an experienced journalist with a focus on business news.
Email: stuart [at] diggers [dot] news
- ZRA pays KCM over K95m in tax refunds, to pay liquidator’s legal fees - 11 Jul 2019
- Defer Sales Tax to Jan 1, Chamber of Mines urges govt - 8 Jul 2019
- African parliaments need two-thirds majority to arrest reckless debt accumulation – Musokotwane - 8 Jul 2019
- ZNFU cries foul over FRA’s K110 maize price - 7 Jul 2019
- Inflation jumps to 8.6% - 2 Jul 2019
Subscribe for email alerts
ArchivesAug0 PostsSep0 PostsOct0 PostsNov0 PostsDec0 Posts
- July 2019
- June 2019
- May 2019
- April 2019
- March 2019
- February 2019
- January 2019
- December 2018
- November 2018
- October 2018
- September 2018
- August 2018
- July 2018
- June 2018
- May 2018
- April 2018
- March 2018
- February 2018
- January 2018
- December 2017
- November 2017
- October 2017
- September 2017
- August 2017
- July 2017
- June 2017
- May 2017
- April 2017
- March 2017
- February 2017
- January 2017
- December 2016
- November 2016
- October 2016
The News Diggers
Deputy News Editor
Plot No. Lus/9812/649-MC8
off Alex Chola Road
P.O. Box 32147
Telephone or WhatsApp:
diggers [at] diggers [dot] news
editor [at] diggers [dot] news
Send this to a friend