Zambia Government admits Corn-Meal Prices of ‘Grave Concern’

Record high and rising prices of corn meal in Zambia are the results of distortion and a matter of “grave concern”, according to Information Minister Dora Siliya. “This is a clear case of price distortion by unscrupulous retailers who wish to enjoy abnormal profits at the expense of ordinary Zambians,” Siliya said in an emailed statement Thursday.

Agriculture Minister Micheal Katambo will meet major outlets to address the problem, she said. “Government will not stand by and watch the staple food go out of reach of ordinary Zambians.”

The country is experiencing the worst drought in almost 40 years, and a report last month by the Southern Africa Development Community forecast 2.3 million people will be food insecure by March. Over the same period, the report forecast Zambia would have an 888,000-ton cereal deficit.

The government says it has enough corn, the staple food, to last until the next season and won’t need to import.

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