With maize prices on the market almost tripling, Zambian maize flour has found its way and traders are raking in a fortune out of it.
The maize flour, a product of Lusaka-based African Milling Company, was selling at K5 000 per 25 kilogrammes when it surfaced on the market in November last year.
But with the kwacha depreciation continuing, the same pack is now selling at K8 500 in some areas and K9 500 in others.
“There is no fixed price for the Zambian maize flour,” said a resident of Lilongwe’s Area 25, refusing to be identified.
“My neighbour bought it at K8 000 just yesterday and today it is going at K8 500 and we do not know how much it will cost in the next seven days.”
A trader at the market said the price was likely to keep rising because it had now become difficult to get it into the country.
“Those who got the flour on a large scale back in November or in December are selling it at lower prices, even at K7 500 per 25kg bag, but recently the prices have gone up in Zambia due to high demand,” he said.
“Besides, it is now becoming difficult to get the maize flour through past the borders, hence the price hike.”
At a press conference on the food security situation, preparedness and response in early December, vice-president Saulos Chilima, announced that government had bought 30 000 metric tonnes of maize from Zambia and 22 193 tons locally to supplement the country’s maize stock in Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) depots.
But with Admarc selling maize in rations of 20kg per buyer a day, coupled with reports of there being no maize in some depots, traders have taken advantage of the situation to hike the prices at will.
A random check Mana revealed that maize prices range from K11 000 to K14 000 per 50 kg bag.