THE Zambia National Service (ZNS)-produced mealie meal is safe to eat, Lieutenant General Malite Solochi has declared.
In its continued battle against empty and rumbling stomachs, ZNS has embarked on mass production of affordable mealie meal in the face of surging prices of the stapple food.
However, the last week had seen rumours suggesting the the mealie meal selling under the brand name; Eagle Milling was genetically modified and unsafe to eat.
But ZNS Commander, Lt General Solochi rubbished the assertions as he hosted defence minister Ambrose Lufuma, government spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa and scores of journalists at the Chongwe Milling Plant yesterday.
Lt Gen Solochi said the service was picked to provide the nation with affordable mealie meal following its displayed work discipline.
He said ZNS was ready to pay for laboratory tests to determine the safety of its mealie meal.
“We are ready to pay for LAB tests because ZNS is not above the law we fear and work within the confines of the law so that we are not found wanting,” Lt Gen Solochi said.
He said the service was not so irresponsible as to produce unsafe mealie meal to the public, stating that all defence forces are partaking of the very product.
“We are also eating the same mealie meal, all these officers buy from us. We supply the same to all defence forces so we can not supply to you something that is not edible,” he said.
And Chief of ZNS Chongwe Milling Plant, Colonel Andrew Mazyopa said since it’s official opening over a year ago, the plant has been accessing its maize from the Food Reserve Agency (FRA).
“We also used to run trucks loaded with mealie meal to compound in Lusaka such as Kaunda Square, Chainda, Chawama and Kanyama. However due to increased demand, ZNS engaged chain stores such as Shoprite, Zambeef stores, and Pick n Pay where it is making daily distributions with the purpose of making mealie meal available,” said Col Mazyopa.
Col Mazyopa explained that due to the low capacity of the plant which did not meet the demand, ZNS partnered with eight other local millers country wide including Superior Milling, Mushe Milling, Rain ball Milling HM Milling and many more.
He said that as at now, the milling plant had managed to distribute 548,310 × 25 kgs bags of Breakfast meal and 100, 757 also × 25 kgs bags of roller meal to chain stores country wide since the distributions commenced.
He revealed that Chongwe ZNS plant has so far received 27, 000 metric tons of maize from FRA which the plant has milled and continued milling up to now, emphasizing that the maize is only received once the plant is in shortage of it.
Meanwhile, Millers Association of Zambia President, Andrew Chintala has said that his association does not subscribe to the production of GMO maize as the country has a non policy that does not allow the production of such maize.
Chintala said no millers in association with the ZNS are supplying GMO maize as the maize is taken to FRA.
“As Millers Association of Zambia, we do not support the production of GMO products in the country, not even the importation and that is all the millers in the association are producing locally and naturally grown maize which is being supplied to FRA,” said Chintala.
The ZNS Eagles mealie meal is being sold at K230 for Breakfast and at k190 for roller meal for retailers with a reduction of k10 in price on both for wholesalers.
By Buumba Mwitumwa and pictures by Salim Dawood
Kalemba January 31, 2024