Govt allows exportation of maize

Agriculture Minister Wylbur Simuusa has signed a Statutory Instrument to allow the export of maize.

And the ministry on Thursday met the millers to discuss how best they could reduce the rising mealie-meal prices.

Mr Simuusa who confirmed signing the SI to allow the export of maize said the country had enough stocks hence could afford to export the grain.

“I signed an SI for the export of maize on Thursday, We have enough stocks of maize actually and the new crop will start coming in within a month’s time,” Mr Simuusa said.

During the meeting, the millers asked the government to maintain the floor price of maize at K65 if the increase of the mealie meal prices had to be averted.

And the millers told the government that the increase in the fuel prices also contributed the rise in mealie-meal prices especially in rural areas.

And Simuusa said the meeting with the millers was successful and expected that the prices of mealie meal would be reduced.

“As a new minister of agriculture, I have certain mandates. One of the first ones is to get the inputs out on time and to address the issue of the price of the staple food. The meeting with the millers was very successful and they are ready to partner with government to see how we can stabilize the price of the commodity,” Simuusa said.

He said the government would not sit back and watch the prices of mealie-meal rising.

“As government we cannot sit back because. We have to satisfy two variable as we need to have as much export as we can and maintain the domestic prices at very reasonable level,” Simuusa said. “We are trying to work out measures that we can both work and agree to so that we can bring the price of the staple food in the region that people are ready to pay because at the moment the prices are not in the region that people can afford.”

Meanwhile, the Millers Association of Zambia president Allan Sakala says the mealie-meal prices are exported to rise following the increase in mealie meal prices.

“The rural areas will be the most affected by the increase in fuel prices because the transportation cost has to be covered,” said Sakala.

Mealie-meal is currently averaging K75 and K80 in most parts of the country.