MEALIE-MEAL in Sinazongwe is being sold for as much as K120, district commissioner Protacial Mulenga has revealed.
In an interview, Mulenga said about 6,000 to 8,000 people in chief Mweemba’s area are under threat of starvation.
“The general situation in the district is that despite us distributing fertiliser and seed on time, the challenge has been on rains…we have opened up a depot where people can buy maize because traders have pegged the price of a 25 kilogramme bag of mealie-meal at between K110 and K120. Only Zambeef is selling the commodity at between K90 and K97 but this is usually quickly sold-out,” Mulenga said.
He named the other affected areas as Malima and Chiyabi.
A Survey conducted by The Mast reveals that nearly all districts in the province have had disaster management meetings while Sinazongwe and Livingstone district commissioners have confirmed the looming hunger in their areas.
And briefing the media on Wednesday, Livingstone acting district commissioner Harriet Kawina said most crops have withered due poor to moisture content.
“We are going to have starvation as our crops have withered. If it does not rain from now it means that about 20 per cent of our crop can recover, but even if it rains within 10 days 25 per cent of the crop can’t recover,” she explained.
“But for other crops such as groundnuts it appears that they can make it if rains, if not they will die as they are on flowery stage which is most critical. Sorghum is doing fine.”
Kawina said effects of climate change are now being felt and that the other reason was that farmers planted their crops late.
Asked which areas of Livingstone are most affected, Kawina said an assessment was still on going with regards the crop status adding that the current situation shows that Simonga, Sinde, Kasiya and Natebe areas are affected.
She said these were sandy areas and if it doesn’t rain crops would die.
Kawina advised residents to consider other options to sustain their families economically such as rearing chickens instead of waiting for the Disaster Management Mitigation Unit (DMMU) to come to their aid.
“We will continue assessing the situation and report accordingly,” she said.
A council source in Zimba revealed that the district administration held a disaster management meeting on Tuesday at which a hunger crisis was said to be on the verge of hitting the district.