THE Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has started selling maize to schools in Kasama to mitigate the mealie meal shortage which has hit the district as the locals have resorted to buying the commodity and reselling it at exorbitant prices Kasama district commissioner Kelly Kashiwa has disclosed.
And Mr. Kashiwa said that solar milling plants in Kasama will start producing mealie meal after the Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF) procured over 400 metric tonnes of white maize from FRA.
He said the sale of maize to schools was meant to cushion the mealie meal shortage on the market as people were taking advantage of the reduced production following the termination of a contract for Kasama Milling Company. He said it was sad that while Governmnet was trying its best to address the mealie meal shortage across the country, some unscrupulous individuals in Kasama had started to sell mealie meal and maize on a commercial basis.
“FRA has started to sell maize to community members and institutions. Schools such as Mporokoso Boarding, Mporokoso School for the Blind, Kasama Girls, Luwingu Boarding, Mpulungu, Chileshe Chepela and Chengelo Nursing School have applied to buy maize and their intentions were being considered. “While Government encourages enterprising activities from its citizens, I wish to note with sadness on the activities surrounding the sale of maize and mealie meal.
He warned that the selling of mealie meal beyond the recommended price violated the modalities governing the selling of maize to local millers, adding that if left unchecked it could result in serious implications.
He however noted that with the opening of 30 solar milling plants in the area by next week through the ZCF, the mealie meal shortage will be addressed.
“In Kasama district, the milling plants have been fed or connected to solar energy and are functional. To this effect, Government through ZCF has since procured 427.5 metric tonnes of white maize from FRA. A loading order has since been issued to ZCF and come next week, production of mealie meal will commence.
“I am happy to inform you all that each solar milling plant has a capacity to produce 80 bags on a good day. I want to state from the onset that it is the responsibility of Government to take care of its people. Government will continue to take care and provide for all those threatened by hunger,” he said.
He said the country had enough stocks of white maize to last beyond August 2016 according to FRA statistics. adding that by August Government would have begun the 2016 maize marketing season, thereby replenishing the stocks.