THE Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition (CSO SUN) Alliance has describe the Agriculture minister Michael Katambo’s statement on food security and assessment of maize stocks survey as insensitive.
CSO-SUN country coordinator Mathews Mhuru in the statement made available by organisation’s communications officer Nsungwe Mulendema said it was very disappointing for the agriculture minister to issue a misleading statement on food security in the country.
He said Katambo was fully aware that the country was food insecure with 2.3million Zambians going hungry.
Mhuru said with the drought that hit Zambia in the last farming season, 1, 037, 777. 7 MT available stock announced by Katambo was a drop in the ocean as more maize is required to feed hungry Zambians.
“A reminder to Katambo is that Zambia requires US$ 89.5 million to feed the hungry people and if the country was food secure, the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) would not have distributed 12.5 kg bags of mealie meal to citizens affected by hunger. This shows that we do not have adequate food as a nation hence the food security situation can best be described as dire at the moment,” said Mhuru.
He urged the government to be truthful when discussing food security in Zambia as several people were already aware of the situation.
Mhuru said lies would discourage partners who were willing to join in the fight against food insecurity in the country.
“However, I commends the government for enhancing security at various points of entry to prevent smuggling of grain into neighbouring countries,” said Mhuru.
On Tuesday, Katambo announced that Zambia has sufficient stocks of maize to last up to july 2020.
He said if the smuggling of maize and mealie meal remains under control, the maize available in the country of 1, 030, 770.7 metric tonnes was adequate to get on the market in ap
He said Zambia expect the next maize harvest to get on the market in April, 2020 under the early maize project.
“I wish to assure the nation that the country’s food security situation is under control and that the country will not experience a national food crisis between now and the next harvest,” Katambo said.
“With these assurances, let me urge all players in the industry to resist the temptation to engage in speculative behavior of stock-piling maize in the hope of making abnormal profits. Going by the figures I have just presented to you, anyone with intentions to speculate may lose out; and therefore, let me encourage all players to continue to trade as normal.”