MEALIE prices have soared in Chongwe with a 50kg bag of breakfast mealie-meal fetching as much as K100.00.
A check by the Daily Nation found that some traders had pegged the price to as high as K100.00 while the cheapest trader is selling the commodity at K87.00, prompting mixed reactions from residents.
Senior Headman Nkhomeshya, has described the situation as very worrying.
“The prices of mealie meal are going up on daily basis. This might be partly attributed to the lifting of the maize export ban. The lifting of the ban amidst the partial drought might have telling effects if not re-assessed. Government should have thought twice about this move" he said.
Another resident, Mr. Moses Tembo of Libuko village bemoaned the high mealie meal prices and predicted a further rise. “The prices of mealie meal will continue to go up because of the partial drought which might affect yields in this farming season.
“The whole of Chongwe is threatened with low yields due to the adverse effects of the partial drought. This must be assessed by government as it would adversely affect the nutritional levels of the residents.
“Even people in the rural parts of Chongwe are now relying on the mealie meal in the shops. This will lead to an increased demand which is already affecting the price of the commodity.
“We therefore appeal to government to quickly assess the situation and put measures in place. Government has to assure us that export of the commodity will not affect the price of mealie meal, but the opposite is the case on the ground.
“One would not be wrong to attribute the rising prices to the lifting of the maize export ban.
It is obvious that the increased demand due to the partial drought is one factor, but government should have cutioned this by upholding the export ban,”he said.
Meanwhile, Ms. Helen Mumba of Chikwela village blamed the increase in mealie meal prices on “heartless traders”.
"The increased mealie meal prices are being artificially created by selfish individuals.
They are taking advantage of the partial drought to cash in on increased demand. I don't think the millers have increased the prices because they have enough stocks from last season," she said.