The Zambia Council for Social Development (ZCSD) says the reduction in the price of mealie-meal as pronounced by the PF government is not adequate and too insignificant to have any true impact on the majority poor Zambians.
ZCSD Executive Director Lewis Mwape says there should be more efforts directed at ensuring that the price of the commodity is reduced further to make it affordable and accessible to the poor people in the lower income brackets.
‘The high cost of food and mealie-meal in particular has been one of the major causes of poverty, hunger and nutritional inequality in Zambia, which has multiple effects in human development such as poor education performance that leaves shanty Townships and the rural communities as major victims,’ Mwape said.
‘It is our considered view that the K4 reduction announced by the government is only beneficial at the wholesale price threshold and only along the line of rail. Therefore, the price reduction will not affect the majority who live in the rural districts of the country.
‘The reduction announced by the minister of K61.00 from K65.00 is not significant as it is still within the high cost threshold. Many Zambians were failing to buy a 25kg bag of mealie-meal when it was at K65.00 and they will still fail to buy it at the new price of K63.00 or more, said Mwape.
Last week, Agriculture Minister Given Lubinda announced the reduction in mealie meal prices in which he said the wholesale price of a 25 kilo grams bag of breakfast will now be selling at K61. 00 from K65.00. According the Mr Lubunda, a 25 kilo gram bag of roller meal will cost K44.00 from K52.00. Lubinda claimed that these reductions were arrived after wide consultations with relevant stakeholders.
But Mwape said ‘we are waiting for a celebration for any significant announcement in the price slash of mealie-meal as this is in line with President Edgar Lungu’s campaign promises which we are sure he is working towards fulfilling.’
He said mealie-meal in Zambia has been expensive despite the country recording successive bumper harvests. The staple food has also remained high even in the face of reductions in the cost of production such as the recent fall in fuel costs.