20 December 2012

Zambia: Operation Flood Market to Boost Maize Supply

Government, through the Food Reserve Agency (FRA), has embarked on a special exercise called Operation Flood the Market under which it will offload 112,860 tonnes of maize to millers across the country.

According to a press statement by FRA executive director Chola Kafwabulula, the offloading of maize on the market was in line with the agency's mandate to ensure that the grain is released from the strategic food reserve to help stablise the prices of the staple food.

Mealie meal prices have increased from the retail unit of about K49,000 per 25 kilogramme bag to as high as K75,000 in some parts of the country.

Mr Kafwabulula said Operation Flood the Market was being managed by a nine-member task force headed by him.

Operation Flood the Market would run smoothly by reducing on paper work previously associated with maize allocations to millers.

Mr Kafwabulula said the task force was set up to facilitate the expeditious processing and allocation of applications received from millers under specified terms of reference.

The terms of reference are allocating maize to millers based on applications received, and processing the required documentation within 24 hours once payment was effected.

Other terms are ensuring that loading at FRA depots is quick to facilitate a steady supply of the maize grain from FRA depots to the milling plants.

A total of 36 milling companies have been targeted in different parts of the country.

They are National Milling Company, Chimanga Changa, Tamba Milling, Solwezi Milling, Shabco Million, FGV, Kwacha, Mpongwe, Mutupa Processing Company, First Choice Milling, White Gold Milling, Star Milling A.L Milling, Simba Milling, Mumbwa Milling Corporation, MF Milling Enterprises, Glance Milling and Jambara Merchants.

Others are Olimpic, Antelope, HM Milling, Jamas, Kasama, Chimsoro, Mpongwe, Cereal, Chat, GBM, Mushe, Pembe Flour Mills, Kasama Bakery, Choma, APG, Aupie, Superior and Dariyaye.

And the Government has allowed FRA to sell maize to members of the general public as a way of helping to curb the rising prices of mealie meal.

Agriculture minister Emmanuel Chenda said under Operation Flood the Market, the agency would be selling the staple grain to individuals which would be taken for grinding as a way of improving on the food security at household level.

Millers Association of Zambia president Allan Sakala is optimistic that the move would help stabilise the prices of mealie meal.

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