Mealie-meal prices have drastically increased in Nakonde district of Muchinga Province despite government having released more maize to all the millers in the country.
A snap survey carried by the Zambia News and Information Services( ZANIS) in the district yesterday revealed that many retailers in the area had increased the commodity by K11,000 and K8,000 for Roller meal and breakfast respectively.
A 25 kg bag of roller meal is now selling at K79, 000 from K68, 000 while breakfast meal is now being sold at K80, 000 from K72, 000 last week.
One of the retailers who trade as Remnant Investments told ZANIS that the hike in mealie-meal prices in the area is due to high transport costs they were incurring when transporting the commodity from Lusaka to Nakonde.
Another retailer Enock Sikanyika explained that there were so many factors that contributed to the increase in the mealie-meal price in the area.
Mr Sikanyika said that transport, loading and offloading fees were very high hence forcing them to increases the retail price.
Mr Sikanyika further appealed to all the wholesalers in the country to consider reducing the commodity price further in order for the retailers to do the same.
But Nakonde District Commissioner James Singoyi has described the mealie-meal price increase in the area as unjustifiable.
Mr. Singoyi said that last week Government released some more maize to the millers through the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) in order to see a reduction in the mealie-meal prices country wide.
Mr Singoyi said consumers in Nakonde are being exploited as they do not expect the price of the commodity to start going up following government’s intervention.
The District Commissioner said that the drastic increase in mealie-meal prices at Nakonde border was due to some traders who were reportedly illegally exporting maize to the neighboring countries.
Mr Singoyi has since warned that whoever will be found exporting maize to the neighboring countries illegally, will be dealt with firmly once caught.
He said that government decided to offload more maize to the millers in the country in order for the local people to benefit and not the foreigners.