Economy

Mealie Meal Prices on the Rise in Zambia

The cost of the staple food, mealie meal, in Zambia is again on the rise despite a recent government intervention that sought to control prices.

Two months ago, prices of meal meal were sky-rocketting, prompting the PF government to engage millers and control the price of the commodity which has sometimes been a source of protests.

But two months later, the prices are back on the upswing with rural Zambia recording some of the highest upward margins.

According to a statement analysing the recent hikes which the government owned and PF controlled Zambia Daily Mail attempted to downplay, the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) says stability in mealie meal prices is imperative to make the staple food more affordable to the majority of Zambians.

The JCTR emphasises the importance of affordable basic food items such as mealie meal in ensuring food security at household level.

The organisation has called on the government to curb the rise in mealie meal prices.

JCTR social conditions programme manage Daniel Mutale said the price of mealie meal remains high across Zambia.

“For instance, the price of mealie meal in Ndola increased from K49,200 in September 2012 to K49,700 in October 2012. 
Other towns recorded varying mealie meal price increases from September 2012 to October 2012.

“K46,300 to K54,500 in Kasama, K37,300 to K41,600 in Livingstone, K42,200 to K46,300 in Mansa, K49,000 to K49,300 in Luanshya and K43,400 to K43,900 in Monze,” reads the statement.

Mutale said the status of mealie meal prices implies that households are still burdened or even worse off in cases of price increases.

‘‘This is reason for concern, given that it is approximately two months after the announcement to reduce the price of mealie-meal,” he said.

He said the prevailing trend in mealie meal prices raises further questions regarding other factors at play, including how binding the agreement between the government and the millers was.

He said prices of mealie meal are expected to have stabilised after the harvest of the maize crop.

On September 14, 2012, government and millers agreed to reduce the price of mealie meal by an average of K2,000 per 25kg bag on both breakfast and roller meal to keep the pricing in check.

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