THE rate at which mealie meal prices are escalating in Zambia today is patently a matter of great concern to many people.
It is certainly an issue of great apprehension because mealie meal is the nation’s staple food which every citizen must afford.
This price psychosis, it would appear, could be the work of an expert cartel or cartels bent on not only maximizing profits but obliviously making government unpopular in the long run.
We say so because it does not make sense that at a time when government has allowed the export of mealie meal, dealers should suddenly hike prices to extremely unreasonable levels for what we think is not for good business reasons.
The prices of mealie meal today range between anything from K99 to K120 for a 25kg bag of breakfast brand which is far out of reach of many consumers.
The situation could be worse off in rural areas where unwitting villagers are exploited daily by unscrupulous businessmen bent on making a quick buck.
So the cries from consumers not only in Lusaka but the rest of Zambia to government to help reduce the prices of mealie meal are well founded.
Consumers have rightly pointed out that there is no justification for the price of mealie meal to rise to stroppy levels considering the fact that Zambia recorded a bumper harvest in the last farming season and should have enough maize stocks in its reserves.
Some of the troubled residents in Lusaka have complained that the hiking of the commodity has gone up by about 40 percent which is too high for the ordinary consumers.
Most consumers say there is no excuse for the millers to increase mealie meal prices to those levels, looking at the official inflation figures, and he rightly thinks the whole issues is simply preposterous.
Consumers have righty appealed to the Food Reserves Agency (FRA) to release maize to the millers at an affordable price to contain mealie meal prices in the nation
Some consumers have since urged government to come on board and help bring sanity in the pricing of mealie meal and other foodstuffs because the majority families will not afford the current hiked prices.
Other consumers with big families are already having serious challenges to ensure that they put nshima on the table.
Indeed if there are some mealie meal cartels out there whose main issue is to maximize profits, they should be told in no uncertain terms that toying with people’s lives is not funny.
Government should get on the ground and find out what is really happening and why mealie meal prices are going up for no good reason.
The say that a hungry person is an angry individual, and this is perhaps what government should avoid in the nation, for the sake of peace.
Those who are inflating mealie meal prices should be checked for the sake of keeping this staple food affordable to a large partv of population.