The Executive Secretary of the Zambia Consumer Association (ZACA), Juba Sakala, says the rise in mealie meal prices has led many Zambians to reduce their daily meals.
Mr. Sakala said that, in an effort to cope with the financial strain, citizens are now reducing their daily meals from three meals to two meals per day.
“A family of five is barely managing to have three decent meals in a day,” he expressed.Mr. Sakala attributed the escalating mealie meal prices to the increase in production costs.
“The entire supply chain, from maize cultivation to transportation, electricity, and water tariffs, has contributed to the elevated costs,” Mr. Sakala said.
ZACA’s Executive Secretary urged the government to address the high production costs.”Leadership and responsibility are urgently required to tackle this issue,” Mr. Sakala said.
He emphasized the need for comprehensive management of farming inputs, whether through the Farming Inputs Support Programs (FISP) or the private sector.
Wesley Miyanda, a Governance & Human Rights Advocate, criticized the timing of the government’s decision to transform the Zambia National Service (ZNS) into a business entity responsible for maize import and export.
Mr. Miyanda further questioned the initiative of exporting maize when the domestic demand for the commodity remains high.
“The government needs to navigate the maize export situation thoughtfully to dispel any doubts about the origin of the exported maize,” Miyanda stated.
He proposed a full engagement with ZNS in production, adding that they should be equipped with milling plants to provide affordable mealie meal for the public.
“Empowering ZNS for full-scale production could create a domino effect, stabilizing the mealie meal prices and promoting affordable farming inputs,” Mr. Miyanda explained.
As mealie meal, a staple food in Zambia, becomes increasingly unaffordable for many citizens, experts and advocates are emphasizing the need for swift and effective government intervention.