Mealie-meal price hike will improve maize availability – IMF

THE IMF says government’s recent increase of mealie-meal prices to cushion transport costs incurred by millers will help improve the availability of maize across the country.

Last Tuesday, agriculture minister Robert Sichinga announced that the millers would now sell a 25-kilogramme bag of mealie-meal at KR55 while the same quantity of roller meal would cost between KR35 and KR37.

Responding to a press query, International Monetary Fund country representative, Tobias Rasmussen, however said to fully capture the available potential, it would be important for the country to let market forces work.

“In the present situation, mandated pricing and limits on exports have kept Zambian maize prices well below those in neighbouring countries. This has led to smuggling and is discouraging production. Fixed pricing has also impeded incentives to distribute maize to remote areas where transport costs are high,” Rasmussen said.