A critical shortage of mealie meal which hit Chipata district last week has continued with hundreds of residents queuing up to buy the commodity whenever a truck brings new stocks.
The residents who scramble to buy mealie meal which is in short supply have also complained of the increased price of the commodity which is now selling at KR65 per 25 kilogram bag of breakfast meal as opposed to the government directive to sell it at KR50.
A check by ZANIS in the central business district found most shops without the commodity while those that did said they would continue selling mealie meal at KR65 saying the order price of the committee had increased to KR50.
“How can you expect me to sale the commodity at a loss, it doesn’t make business sense. If they want us to sale at KR65, they should reduce the order price,” said Zacheus Nyau, a trader at Kapata market.
Authorities at Spar supermarket said they would only sale 10kilogram bags of mealie meal because it could be sold at a profit.
“We cannot make profit if we continue to sale the 25 kilogram bag of mealie meal because the order price is KR50 and we cannot sale at the same price,” said Diana Seri who is Spar Chipata Manager.
And James Daka has appealed to government to quickly address the situation saying it is not normal to hear government issue a directive without addressing other issues saying it is clear that there were some irregularities that led to the shortage and substantial increase of the staple food.
“How is it possible for people to ignore a Presidential directive?” he wondered.
Mr Daka said government should monitor the sale of the commodity on the ground and appreciate the concerns of the traders who have vowed not to reduce the price of mealie meal before government addresses the issues of the cost of transportation and order price of the staple food.