MILLING companies on the Copperbelt have petitioned government to allow them sell mealie-meal to the DRC because residents are not buying roller meal.
But Copperbelt minister Japhen Mwakalombe says he will encourage citizens to be eating roller meal which is nutritious.
National Milling Corporation Limited, Antelope Milling and Mpongwe Milling have written to Mwakalombe over the matter.
“Our major customers for roller meal are the breweries, but due to the current COVID 19 pandemic and the subsequent closure of bars, this market has been negatively affected,” Mpongwe Milling managing consultant Joof Pistorius said.
And Mwakalombe confirmed being in receipt of the petition from the millers.
“I want to assure the millers that we will ensure that we strike a balance of protecting the people from COVID-19 and the companies. I’m aware that if the mealie-meal expires, companies will make huge loses. But I want to assure the millers that we will work to ensure that we have a win-win situation,” Mwakalombe said.
“Let me encourage the people of the Copperbelt to start eating roller which has nutrition. We will sensitise the people on the need to eat roller which is nutritious.”
He said the government was cautious about opening the market before the maize floor price is announced.
“We don’t want to open the market before the prices on the Copperbelt go down. We are cautiously engaging the stakeholders. If we rush to export then the process can be influenced here on the Copperbelt. We need to come up with an agreement,” he said.
“Exporting, we have not yet gotten the floor price and this is why we can’t encourage exports. That is why we are engaging the ministries responsible. We need to have enough maize for our people to have before we allow the millers to start selling in Kasumbalesa. We are responding to their matters steadily.”