By Samuel Kalimira:
Kabambe said the private sector was buying maize at high prices so that they can sell it at high prices during the rainy season.
In some Central Region districts, vendors are buying maize on average at K200 per kilogramme (kg), K250/kg in the Southern Region while, in the Northern Region, it is selling at K180/kg.
But Kabambe described the prices on the market as “panic-buying” arguing that the country had enough maize stocks.
“We see the increase in price of food inflation [such as maize] as temporary. We think it is just panic buying because the Ministry of Agriculture has told us that there is sufficient maize out there. There is surplus this year. We think that the private sector is buying in order to sell at higher prices during the rainy season,” he said.Advertisement
“However, we believe that, by that time, many households would have had enough maize and this would force the prices on the market to go down. That is the reason the Monetary Policy Committee believes the hike in prices is temporary and is not affecting the medium term objective of bringing inflation to 5 percent,” Kabambe said.
But Principal Secretary in Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Gray Nyandule-Phiri, said, despite the country producing enough maize at the national level, some areas which were affected by floods and other national disasters do not have maize; hence, prices are high.
Phiri also attributed the hike to poor harvest in neighbouring countries such as Zambia and Mozambique where some vendors go for cross-border illegal trade.
“The prices are high because some have planned to sell their maize to the neighbouring countries despite that there is a ban. We have also noted that, in areas that were affected by floods, vendors have raised prices. But, all in all, the country has enough maize,” Nyandule-Phiri said.
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