By Jubiel Zulu
CUTS International, Centre Coordinator Chenai Mukumba has the acknowledge positive outlook of the agricultural sector regarding reduction in mealie-meal prices as a result of high productivity of maize.
Ms. Mukumba says in the recent months, a 25kg bag of breakfast mealie-meal was selling between K96 and K106, and in some cases as high as K120.
She said it is worth noting that prices of mealie-meal have fallen significantly as a result of the bumper harvest as well as the market forces of demand and supply as most millers are now buying maize grain from farmers at lower prices.
She however, noted that the price reduction will benefit consumers whilst affecting small-scale farmers who grew the grain at a high cost when compared to the price they are selling to millers.
Recently the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) indicated that they would buy a limited amount of maize this year, a decision CUTs commended and encouraged the FRA not to buy more than they already indicated.
However, FRA intends to operate 760 satellite depots across the country imply a drop of 463 depots or 33 per cent of the depots.
Ms. Mukumba says this is in line with the policy pronouncement of limiting the strategic food reserve purchase to 500,000 metric tonnes.
CUTs has urge FRA to redouble their efforts to purchase from low income farmers as previous studies have shown that only a few poor households are beneficiaries of FRA.
CUTs has noted that it is important for government to consider another way to cushion poor farmers such as through the implementation of the Social Cash Transfer (SCT).