Business

‘Consider releasing maize grain’

ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka
POLICY Monitoring and Research Centre (PMRC) has urged Government through the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to release maize grain on the local markets at the same price offered to millers to stabilise mealie-meal prices.
FRA has been offloading maize to millers at K85 per 50-kilogramme (kg) bag.
PMRC head of research and analysis division Miselo Bwalya said there is need by Government to develop sustainable long-term solutions to ensure that mealie-meal prices remain affordable for all citizens regardless of socio-economic class.
Speaking at a media workshop last week, Mr Bwalya said, “We undertook research and our analysis is that in November 2015, Government through FRA intervened to make available maize grain to millers at a cost of K85 per 50kg bag.
“These stipulate that millers would in turn maintain their wholesale prices as follows: breakfast meal will be sold not more than K70 per 25kg bag, roller meal at K55 per 25kg bag while maize brain not more than K30 per 25kg bag.”
He said agriculture has evolved and, therefore, there is need for stakeholders to invest in measures that will boost climate- smart agricultural practices as well as diversification of the sector.
Mr Bwalya said it is encouraging that through a system such as the e-voucher, at farmers are no longer limited to cultivating maize, but, are now able to opt for other crop varieties that may be more profitable.
“By placing the power to decide on what crops to grow in the hands of the farmers, they are being empowered to make a cost benefit analysis of their practices and choose what crops to grow so as to make a profit and improve their livelihood,” he said.

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