By TRYNESS MBALE
MAIZE and mealie-meal prices are expected to be stable in September and October because farmers will be offloading their excess cereal.
Farmers will start offloading their maize before the start of the rainy season and this will stabilise the prices of maize and mealie-meal in the country.
The commodity price forecast was made by Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWNET), a research body of the United Agency for International Development which provides information and analysis on food insecurity in various parts of the world.
Zambia recorded bumper harvests for five years with the 2013/14 being estimated at 3.35 million tonnes, enabling majority of rural households to have adequate staple stocks.
FEWNET says the regional market for maize was likely to remain limited, given the good harvest in most of the southern African countries sustaining good local supplies.
â€œMaize and maize meal are likely to slightly fall or stabilise in September and October, when supply will significantly increase as farmers hurry to sell off excess maize before the rainy season starts,â€ the statement reads.
FEWNET, however, says prices of mealie-meal may increase as the lean season starts and more rural households depend on the market between November and December.
Meanwhile, FEWNET says the recent increase in the price of mealie-meal was due to farmers temporarily holding on to their maize in anticipation of sales to Food Reserve Agency (FRA).
FEWNET says although maize prices fell seasonally after the harvest, unexpected price increases have been recorded in July within Lusaka following the announcement of a nine percent increase in the FRA maize buying price.
Minimal acute food security outcomes were prevailing across Zambia due to the record 3.35 million tonnes maize harvest that has followed several consecutive years of surplus production, as well as the seasonally good variety of foods available following the harvest beginning in April, according to the statement.
The variety of seasonal foods and large maize production would also increase access to basic foods from own harvest for most farming households throughout September.
By TRYNESS MBALE