By Nation Reporter
SMALL scale farmers are happy with the Government’s decision to restrict the transportation of maize and mealie-meal to day hours to cushion the escalating mealie-meal prices in the country.
Small scale farmers’ coordinator Aggrey Mulubwa said it was unacceptable that the country had continued to record shortages of mealiemeal or hikes in price in some parts of the country when trucks loaded with maize were being intercepted.
“The country has been faced with persistent mealie-meal shortages and whenever the commodity is supplied to the needy places, consumers queue up to secure their share, as demand keeps escalating and this is not fair when we have enough stocks to meet the demands of consumers,” he said.
Mr Mulubwa said such “hide and seek” kind of situation was not helping the people of Zambia, saying whoever was behind the smuggling of the commodity must stop immediately.
“If we don’t have enough commodity in the country to meet the demand of the people, why is that we are seeing loads and loads of trucks of the commodity being transported to other countries?” he said.
Mr Mulubwa appealed to all the farmers to help the Government in its effort to curb the illegal smuggling of maize, adding that the transportation of the commodity at awkward hours was raising eyebrows.
He said there was no reason why the prices of mealie-meal were hiked when the country had enough stocks, alleging that the shortage of the commodity was politically motivated.
And National Union of Small Scale Farmers in Zambia (NUSFAZ) director general Dr Frank Kayula recommended the Government for banning the export of maize too safeguard the needs on Zambians.
“As at February we had enough commodities to last for six months, but the deficit in East and Southern Africa has led to smuggling as prices are tempting to greedy people,” he said.
Government has announced restriction in the transportation of maize and mealie meal from 06:00 -18:00 hours to curb smuggling of the commodity.