EIGHTY-THREE per cent of Zambians say the price of mealie-meal is too high, while 42 per cent say they can no longer afford to buy the nation’s staple food, according to the Consumer Unity and Trust Society.
In the last four months, the price of mealie-meal, Zambia’s staple food, has increased drastically with people in some parts of the country buying the commodity for as high as K120 per 25 kilogramme bag.
In a press statement issued in Lusaka, Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) observed that continuous high mealie-meal prices pose serious health risks to a country where over 80 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line.
“The government of Zambia has rightly raised concerns about rising mealie-meal prices, particularly with respect to the millers who receive government subsidised maize. Zambian citizens are increasingly worried about the cost of the country’s staple food,” CUTS stated.
The organisation further stated that in order to better understand how mealie-meal prices were affecting ordinary Zambian citizens, it undertook a nationwide survey on the matter.
“The findings reveal that more than 50 per cent of Zambians consume mealie-meal more than once a week, with over half of those consuming mealie-meal daily. However, the survey also shows that despite its high use among Zambian households, more than 80 per cent of the people interviewed felt that the price of mealie-meal is too high,” stated CUTS.
“Alarmingly, the survey indicated that 42 per cent of Zambians said that they could not afford to continue to purchase this staple food. This inability to continue to afford mealie-meal in the future is particularly high among lower income groups. According to CUTS’ survey, of the households that reported that they earned less than K500 a month, 46 per cent said they did not think that they would afford to continue to use mealie-meal.”