For the first time since the last eight years of Dr Kenneth Kaunda’s rule between 1983 and 1991, Zambians are queuing for the commodity which before September 2011 was fetching for at most K40, 000 per 25 kg breakfast meal but is now pegged at over K80, 000 in areas like Chingola.
Minister of agriculture Emmanuel Chenda has issued a statement accusing millers of hoarding alleging the shortage is artificial. People are back to the UNIP days by forming queues to purchase the commodity at few places where it is available.
The consumers are waking up at dawn to scout for mealie meal around the city. The milling companies on the Copperbelt are experiencing an acute shortage of the commodity forcing some to close while that are open but have no stock to sale.
This situation has created anger among Coperbelt residents who are wondering where government is taking the huge tonnages of maize that were harvested in this agriculture farming season.
Consumers are wondering why there is a shortage of mealie meal even as the Food Reserve Agency announced that they bought a lot of maize in the current farming season.
Some millers like Jamos Milling company have even closed their operation due to lack of stock.
Some angered residents said on television; “they show us that FRA has bought tonnes of maize but where is it going? We have also heard that Zambia has produced a lot of maize and some of it from last season is even rotting, so why is there a shortage of mealie meal?”
The PF government is failing to manage the agriculture sector leading to failure to deliver input for the 2012/13 farming season on time and payment of farmers.