YANDE SYAMPEYO, Lusaka
THE Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) has challenged its members to take a leading role and secure enough maize grain in this year’s marketing season to ensure there is uninterrupted production up to the next crop harvest.
And MAZ president Andrew Chintala has further challenged farmers in the country to peg the price of maize considerably at K75 per 50kg, to pass on the benefit of the bumper harvest to consumers.
Mr Chintala said in an interview that millers should take advantage of this year’s projected bumper harvest and secure enough grain for production.
The MAZ leader said his members should avoid a situation where Government would be compelled to sell them subsided maize from the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to sustain supply of mealie-meal on the market.
Mr Chintala said the reason millers, grain traders and FRA entered into a tripartite agreement early this year was due to the failure by some millers to secure enough grain during the 2015/2016 season.
“I wouldn’t want to see ourselves going back into a tripartite agreement again probably towards the end of this year or early 2018,” Mr Chintala said.
He also disclosed that the tripartite agreement came to a close last month and only a few millers are still drawing from the allocation stocks that were made in May.
Mr Chintala said the 38 millers that were engaged in the agreement did their best to offload subsided mealie-meal on the market.
And Mr Chintala said farmers should be patriotic and considerate when pricing the maize grain.
He said farmers should be mindful that most countries in the region have this year produced surplus maize making the grain competitive.
He said it would only be realistic and fair for farmers to see the commodity at K 75 per 50kg bag.
“The higher the cost of maize, the higher the cost of mealie-meal. We hope we can find a room in between the trade and pass the benefits of the bumper crop to farmers.
“Already between South Africa and ourselves [Zambia],we are battling it out in terms of the market share in the Democratic Republic of Congo and so I can tell you that we will have very stiff competition,” he said.