Engage maize stakeholders, says Muntanga

Chairperson for parliamentary committee on Agriculture has called on Government to quickly engage stakeholders to help in curbing the illegal exportation of maize, says Request Muntanga.

Mr Muntanga who is UPND Kalamo MP said if this remained unchecked, they would be poverty in the country.

He said there was need for Government to quickly engage stakeholders and farmers who can advance and put long term measures from illegal exporters, and not to involve political parties because the issue at hand was at management level.

Mr. Muntanga however charged that the ban on the export of maize and mealie meal confirmed that there was not enough maize in the country, because people were queuing for the commodity.

He alleged that there was no transparency in the award of maize export licences which needed to be investigated before the country lost millions of kwacha.

On Tuesday, Government banned the exportation of maize and maize products with immediate effect.

Agriculture permanent secretary Julius Shawa said the move was aimed at safeguarding national food security in the country.

He said a physical verification would commernce immediately to ascertain the stocks of maize currently being held by the Food Reserve Agency and the private sector.

Mr Shawa said the verification would  take one week by the inter-agency team involving FRA, Grain Traders Association of Zambia, millers and the Zambia National Farmers Union that had been established to undertake the quantification of the maize which had been impounded by enforcement agencies.

Recently, scores of truckloads of maize were impounded in Chipata, Nyimba and in Kafue districts by security wings and most did not have valid export permits.


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