Government should investigate millers for causing panic over their unilateral and unjustified maize price increases, the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) has demanded.
ZNFU president Dr. Evelyn Nguleka said millers had defied Government policy of private sector-led agricultural development by breaching the unfair competition law in hiking prices when the country has sufficient maize stocks.
“We have observed for some time now that some millers just sit and wait for maize from FRA and do not want to go and buy the crop when the marketing season is open,” Dr Nguleka said.
Speaking in Lusaka yesterday Dr Nguleka said the union shared Government’s concern when some stakeholders in the maize value chain called for increase in mealie meal prices at a time when the country had enough maize.
She stated that milling was not a complicated and sophisticated process which should warrant increase of price at will.
Dr Nguleka noted that what was of great concern was the fact that millers of different sizes and milling capacities could collude and agree to increase a uniform price of K10.
“The country has enough maize available, so why should they increase the price? What is worrying most is that millers of different sizes and milling capacities, different overheads and efficiencies conspire and agree to increase the price of mealie meal,” she said.
Dr Nguleka urged Government through the Zambia Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) to investigate the issue further.
She said that there was no way that millers could just hike the price of mealie meal whenever they felt like.
Dr Nguleka said it was high time Government intervened before the situation got out of hand.