By Nation Reporter
THE movement of maize and maize meal has been restricted to day time hours and those found outside this time jurisdiction will be liable for confiscation by law enforcement agencies, says Agriculture permanent secretary Julius Shawa.
He said this yesterday in Lusaka at a press briefing where he accused some traders of exploiting consumers by charging higher prices of maize.
Mr Shawa said Government had taken appropriate measures which include the regulating of maize exports for pre-existing contracts to 227 245 metric tonnes.
He said failure to avail law enforcement agencies with valid export documentation would result in the confiscation of the maize and forfeiture of the trucks used.
“The movement of maize meal is with immediate effect restricted to the day time hours that is between 06:00hrs to 18:00hrs. Any maize meal transported outside these hours would be liable to confiscation by law enforcement agencies and the exports of maize for pre-existing contracts are limited to 227 245 metric tonnes,’’ he said.
Mr Shawa said that the country was food secure and that the food insecurity affecting some neighbouring countries had caused unnecessary anxiety but that government wished to inform the nation that Zambia had enough food to last until the next harvest season.
“To date 762,688 metric tonnes of maize have been allocated to the millers for the domestic market and a further 174 532 metric tonnes remains uncommitted and is available for the school feeding programme, community sales and food relief under the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit ( DMMU),” he said.
He said any suspicious movements of maize and maize meal as well as the buying and hoarding should be reported to the offices of district commissioners or any public offices.
Mr Shawa who was accompanied by his counterparts for Ministry of Home Affairs Chileshe Mulenga and Lusaka Province Stardy Mwale said anyone involved in the illegal sales of maize and maize meal as well as hoarding risked facing the full force of the law.
Meanwhile, responding to questions from journalists on the impounded trucks in Chipata he said that only trucks with valid documents and those that appeared on the schedule list with the Ministry of Agriculture would be allowed to move
He has since appealed to all Zambians of goodwill to put the country first and report those bent on creating an artificial shortages of food to law enforcement agencies