Government will explore three options to ensure that there are enough maize stocks in the country, President Edgar Lungu has said.
The Head of States has indicated that the first option would be to grow irrigated maize while the second would be to engage the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) and the Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) to mop up the grain which was still available in the country.
Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Amos Chanda told journalists in Mfuwe on Tuesday evening that importation of maize would be the last option.
“The President has three options of ensuring that there is food security in the country…the first option is to enlist the support of commercial farmers to grow irrigated maize the second option is for the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) and the Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) to mop up the grain which is still available in the country and the last option is to import maize only if the first two options fails,” Mr Chanda said.
Mr Chanda said President Lungu wanted the importation of maize to be the last option.
He also said the ZNFU had indicated that it would engage commercial farmers to produce 200,000 metric tonnes (MT) of maize in the event of crop failure in the country.
Mr Chanda said that the FRA had 930,000 metric tonnes of maize in stock to last the country up to the next farming season, of which millers would commit 698,000 metric tonnes to produce mealie-meal.
“The nation currently has 241,000 metric tonnes of the grain in the national strategic reserves at FRA,” he said.
And Mr. Chanda clarified that government’s move to increase electricity tariffs was gradual. He said Government intended to increase electricity tariffs very soon but it would be done gradually.
Mr Chanda said President did not want the increase in electricity tariffs to negatively affect the less privileged in society.
He explained that the intended Zesco tariffs hike would mean investing in the energy sector and at the same time generating enough electricity.