AGRICULTURE Minister Reuben Phiri says the country remains food secure until March 2023.

Speaking when he received a report for the audit of maize stocks from the Food Reserve Agency (FRA), Wednesday, Phiri said the total national stock position stood at 1,509,455.03 metric tonnes.

“National strategic food reserves are vital for the nation as they serve as a safeguard against national food insecurity. Hence, the need for these reserves to be adequately stocked in good quality and countable manner at all times. In this regard, therefore, let me take this opportunity to inform the country through you the members of the press that after this exercise, the ministry is confident of the stock position it will be sharing with you from time to time,” he said.

“In this vein also, allow me to share with you the national stock position as at 12th April, 2022. The total national stock position was 1,509,455.03mt held by the Food Reserve Agency, the Millers Association of Zambia, the Grain Traders Association of Zambia and the Zambia National Farmers Union. With these stock levels, the country remains food secure up to March 2023.”

Phiri said his ministry would continue doing its best in ensuring food security in the country.

“The ministry will continue doing its best in ensuring food security in the country by putting in place appropriate measures that promote a balance between business and national food security. The national strategic food reserves have proved to be very useful in many ways including stabilizing mealie meal prices caused by food supply imbalances in the country due to negative effects of climate change. Further, the agency has been critical in implementing food relief programmes aimed at helping vulnerable communities affected by unforeseen calamities such as floods or droughts,” said Phiri.

“This government shall endeavour to continue supporting farmers and other stakeholders by providing market access through the agency and timely release of funds for their delivered produce and provision of critical services.”