Smuggling of maize across borders worries BuyZed

• Government is making every effort to allow maize traders to export the commodity using the right procedures.
• If smuggling of the commodity continues, there will be very little mealie meal in the country.
• BuyZed conquers with the FRA Board Chairperson on his call to tighten up the border security.

BuyZed Campaign says smuggling of maize and mealie meal across borders by unscrupulous traders will hamper the effort that government is making to offload highly subsidized maize to millers.
Speaking in an interview with Money FM News, Organization Founder Evans Ngoma said if smuggling of the commodity continues, there will be very little mealie meal in the country, thereby creating a very huge impasse.
Mr. Ngoma noted that government is making every effort to allow maize traders to export the commodity using the right procedures so that the country can be earning the much needed foreign exchange.
“But as the situation is today where it is alleged that there isn’t enough maize stock in the country, to allow for that, which I know has caused escalation of prices of mealie-meal, we would like to conquer with the FRA Board Chairperson, on his call to tighten up the border security. According to the prevailing situation in Zambia today regards agriculture activities, maize production has not been extremely good to allow for a free flow of trade, meaning that opening up of borders 24/7, 365 days in a year.”
“Yes government is making every effort to give traders a leeway to export the commodity using the right procedures so that as a country we can begin to earn the much needed foreign exchange,” Mr. Ngoma stated.
He added that the organization is in support of calls by Food Reserve Agency (FRA) for government to tighten security across the borders to curb the smuggling of mealie meal and maize.
“The offloading of highly subsidized maize on the market was meant to cushion the escalating of prices, so now if unscrupulous traders are taking advantage of that and are beginning to smuggle the commodity across borders, the effort that government is making to offload highly subsidized maize, will be a futility.”
“There will be very little mealie meal in the country and this will cause consumers to begin to queue for the commodity, hence creating a very huge impasse. Even us as BuyZed, we would also like to urge the security agencies to tighten up these borders,” he added.
Mr. Ngoma’s comment comes in the wake of calls by FRA Board Chairman Kelvin Hambwezya for government to tighten security along the Zambia – Malawi borderline following an escalation of maize and mealie meal smuggling into Malawi.
Mr. Hambwezya stressed the need for various security agencies to tighten controls to combat the scourge, stating that government cannot be subsidizing food for people across the border.

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