The price of a 25 kilogramme bag of breakfast is currently selling at K150 in Sioma in Western Province and similarly in Lusaka and the Copperbelt provinces.
Siliya said in a statement that acting President Inonge Mutukwa Wina summoned Minister of Agriculture Michael Katambo to immediately arrest the price distortions in the market.
She added that the government will not stand by and watch the staple food go out of reach of ordinary Zambians.
“The Acting President has instructed the Minister of Agriculture to immediately arrest the price distortions in the market, for example the price of a 25kg bag of breakfast is selling at K150 in Sioma in Western Province and similarly at K150 in Lusaka and the Copperbelt. This is a clear case of price distortion by unscrupulous retailers who wish to enjoy abnormal profits at the expense of ordinary Zambians. You would expect the price of mealie meal to be cheaper in Lusaka and the Copperbelt because that is where milling plants are located,” Siliya said.
“The average selling price by millers to retailers is between ZMK115 to ZMK120 only, while for roller meal, the millers are selling to retailers at between ZMK80 to ZMK90. Hon Katambo has been instructed to urgently meet major retail outlets to address the price distortions.”
She said the government is also aware of price distortions in the maize buying market.
“While the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) price is ZMK110 per 50Kg of maize, the private sector price is as high as ZMK170 per 50kg bag of Maize. This, too, is clear distortion because historically, the price difference between FRA and the private sector has never been more than ZMK10 per bag. However, this year, the difference is as high as ZMK60,” said Siliya who alleged that the price distortion in maize market is resulting from the the three major private manufacturers of livestock feed who are procuring maize at exorbitant prices, to make stock feed cake for export, at the expense of ordinary Zambians.
She further disclosed that the government has instructed the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission to render a report to Government on the price distortions within 24 hours.
Siliya has reassured the nation that while the country was impacted by drought and floods in some areas, it is food secure and “government will do everything possible to ensure that it remains so and that no Zambian should die from hunger”.