Daily Mail, June 14, 2016
By TRYNESS TEMBO, Lusaka
THE continued high price of mealie-meal in some areas of the country has resulted in about 42 percent of Zambians falling to afford to buy the staple food, the Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) latest survey has revealed.
Recently, CUTS conducted a nationwide survey to better understand how mealie meal prices are affecting ordinary citizens.
CUTS advocacy and information programme officer Jimmy Maliseni said the inability of some households to buy mealie meal may continue in the future, especially among lower income groups.
Mr Maliseni, in a statement availed to the Daily Mail yesterday, urged Government to take steps that will deliver meaningful results to address the high price of mealie meal. “Eighty-three percent of Zambians say the price of mealie-meal is too high, while 42 percent say they can no longer afford to buy the nation’s staple food.
“In the last four months, the price of mealie-meal has increased drastically with people in some parts of the country paying up to K120 for a bag. This poses serious issues for a country where over 80 percent of the population lives below the poverty line,” he said.
Government has raised concerns about rising mealie-meal prices, particularly with respect to the millers who receive subsidised maize. Zambian citizens are worried about the cost of the country’s staple food.
He said the findings reveal that more than 50 percent of Zambians consume mealie-meal more than once a week, with over half of those consuming mealie-meal daily.
Mr Maliseni, however, said the survey also shows that despite its high use among Zambian households, over 80 percent of the people interviewed indicated that the price of mealie meal is too high.
“To stabilise mealie-meal prices across the country, Government has undertaken measures to attempt to alleviate the situation. However, despite these measures, mealie-meal prices continue to rise,” he said.
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