22 January 2013

Zambia: Transform FRA, Govt Urged

THE Zambia Consumers Association (ZACA) has urged Government to transform the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) from just keeping maize to an active participant in mealie meal production.

ZACA executive secretary Muyunda Ililonga said this will help mitigate the rising mealie meal prices.

Mr Ililonga said in Lusaka that the association was aware that Government had instructed FRA to sell maize directly to consumers in the rural areas to avail them food at affordable prices.

He, however, said the association wanted the Government to further transform the mandate of FRA from just being a reserve to being a producer of mealie meal so that it could compete with the private sector.

He said FRA should directly or through subsidiary companies be able to run mills to enable the agency to compete with the private sector.

"We think that Government can play a role in the reduction of mealie meal prices by transforming FRA's mandate from just keeping maize to milling so that it competes with the private sector," Mr Ililonga said.

This, he said, would save the agency from the high cost of storage, wastage and further address the financial problems FRA had been struggling with.

"If this has worked for other countries like South Africa where a milling plant has been inaugurated in Kwazulu Natal, it can also work in Zambia," Mr Ililonga said.

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