By FRANCISCA CHOMBA in Monze
Government has assured Zambians that it will remain steadfast in honouring its campaign promises of keeping the prices of essential commodities like mealie-meal within the reach of the low-income earners in the country.
Defence Minister Ambrose Lufuna said government would work out ways of stopping the rise in prices of the commodities on the Zambian market.
Mr lufuna said this when he commissioned the first ever and 240 tonne Zambia National service (ZNS) Monze Milling Plant in Monze yesterday.
He said the Government found it unacceptable to have mealie-meal prices that were so fluid.
The modern milling plant comes with installed milling capacity of more than 5,000 by 25 killogrammes (KGs) bags of breakfast mealie, more than 3,000 bags of roller bags of maize bran per day.
This makes it the largest milling plant in the country.
“The move to have Government institutions like ZNS in adding value to our country’s staple grain is no way meant to stifle our private sector players. To the contrary, my Government considers all private milling companies as key drivers of our job creation agenda,” he said.
ZNS Commandant Lieutenant General Maliti Solochi said the industrial milling plant would support the Government’s aspiration to transform the agricultural sector thereby making the country food secure.
General Solochi said the milling plant would help build momentum for the ambitious programmes of bulding and running an efficient diversified industry.
He said working closely with other stakeholders, the service intended to organize some enterprising youths in some form of copperatives so that they could become effective sales agents for the mealie-meal and maize bran.
On the other hand we shal provide reliable linkages to those yuths within interest to venture into livestock production for them to have assured access to affordable stock feed, “ Gen Solochi said.
Home Affairs and Internal Security Minister Jack Mwiimbu said he was optimistic that the facility would bring down the cost of producing mealie-meal.
Mr. Mwiimbu said the facility would not only produce mealie-meal for the people but would also create about 200 employment opportunities for the local people.
He appealed to traditional leaders in the province to urge their subjects to supply the necessary requisite raw materials to the milling plant for it to run effectively.
Sourthen Province Minister Cornelius Mweetwa said the facility was of great consequential benefits because it had unlocked opportunity for a number of youth to be deployed.
Mr Mweetwa said the commissioning of the facility had come at opportune time when the government had increased the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) from K1.6 million to K 25.7 million.