THE UPND in Eastern Province says the high cost of mealie-meal is sign that the country’s strategic reserves are not enough.

Speaking on Feel Free FM’s Big Issue programme yesterday, provincial UPND treasurer Lucky Matongo said if the strategic reserves were enough, the government would have started distributing it.

“We are shocked that the price of mealie-meal is at K150 as my colleague Lyson (Nyirenda provincial youth chairperson) has said. Government has assured this nation that they have enough strategic reserves. If we have got enough strategic reserves and we have got a good monitoring system, why should the prices go up? If the acquisition cost, storage cost and distribution cost by Food Reserve Agency to the millers, let’s say a bag which they bought at K75 comes to K85, why should the mealie-meal be over K100?” Matongo asked.

“Already this is a sign that the strategic reserves are not enough because if the strategic reserve is enough and we should have by now started distributing it to needy areas. We were aware that this year, half of the country had a very poor harvest. We should have made sure that we control certain things but what we are getting is different.”

He said Eastern Province should have a big milling plant that was able to harness all the maize in the province.

“What is happening is that Eastern Province; we are lucky there is a better harvest compared to these other areas but all our maize goes to Lusaka [and] it will come back as Simba mealie meal, Pembe, this is why as UPND we are saying ours is to improve the agriculture sector,” Matongo said.

He said agro industry should be based in the production areas like Eastern.

And Matongo said Zambia need an independent electoral commission.

He said currently what was needed was the reformation of the ECZ.

Nyirenda said UPND would give the new ECZ chief electoral officer Patrick Nshindano a benefit of doubt.

He accused the PF of having divided the country through unbalanced appointments.

UPND information and publicity secretary Victor Mbuzi complained over the poor state of most roads in the province.

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