PF has finally woken up to the reality of maize shortages, says Hakainde Hichilema

Filed under: Breaking News,Statements |

photoUPND leader Hakainde Hichilema says the PF has finally woken up to the reality of maize shortages.

In a statement, Mr. Hichilema stated that the PF is a government that let’s things fall apart completely before taking any action.
“After much delay the PF has finally woken up to the reality of maize shortages, several months after the rest of the country. Yesterday the government has banned the export of maize and maize products with immediate effect for an initial period of one week,” Mr. Hichilema stated.

“This comes more than five months after the Millers Association of Zambia was calling for such a ban and the alarm had already been sounded by many parties, including the UPND, that stocks were being depleted too quickly and that it was necessary to check stock levels as a matter of urgency.”

Mr. Hichilema stated that the Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF) issued warnings about the dry spell in August 2015.
He stated that the PF government chose to dismiss the concerns.

Mr. Hichilema stated that the maize situation worsened in January adding that his party made a plea for government to hear them on the matter. “…because this is not just a matter of politics but is a matter of food security, and therefore of life and death for some of our most vulnerable citizens. Yet again, no action was taken and our concerns were dismissed,” he stated.

Mr. Hichilema stated that in the weeks that have followed, reports of empty shelves, rationing and rising prices have circulated, but that still the PF refused to give the matter full and urgent attention.

“This is a government that lets things fall apart completely before taking any action, whether its maize, electricity or mining. Rather than addressing problems as they arise they bury their heads in the sand until the problem is so big it can no longer be ignored,” he stated.
Mr. Hichilema stated that those who bear the cost of the PF ignorance and inaction are the people.

However the larger issue here is that Zambia should not even be in a situation where it has to ban the export of maize and related products because we can produce food to feed the whole region of 300 million people. This is a market that, had the PF developed and implemented their agriculture policy properly, we could have been sending 5 million metric tons of maize to South Africa, rather than them buying the same from Brazil. Even as we are struggling with our foreign exchange reserves, Government is closing off sources of FOREX.

“However the larger issue here is that Zambia should not even be in a situation where it has to ban the export of maize and related products because we can produce food to feed the whole region of 300 million people,” Mr. Hichilema stated.

“This is a market that, had the PF developed and implemented their agriculture policy properly, we could have been sending 5 million metric tons of maize to South Africa, rather than them buying the same from Brazil. Even as we are struggling with our foreign exchange reserves, Government is closing off sources of FOREX.”