Government says it has a duty to ensure that the cost of the staple food is within the reach of citizens.

Acting Chief Government Spokesperson MAKOZO CHIKOTE says the mealie meal price increase was triggered by the increased purchase price of maize, from 180 Kwacha last year to 280 this year.

Mr. CHIKOTE says this made it inevitable for the price of mealie meal prices to increase.

He says increasing the maize purchase price was a deliberate strategy to increase maize production.

He adds that Commercial farmers had abandoned maize production because it was unprofitable.

Mr. CHIKOTE says as a consequence, maize production in the country started going down while demand was rising, both on the local market and on the international market.

The Acting Minister of Media and Information says Government envisages that when the country produces more maize, it will be able to export the surplus to the many countries that are yearning for Zambian maize.

Mr. CHIKOTE says the Government has put in place measures to cushion the most vulnerable citizens by putting them on social cash transfer.

He says the Government has further introduced CDF bursaries and reintroduced meal allowances for students so that parents are able to afford mealie meal and other essential commodities at the current price.

This is according to a statement issued to ZNBC News by Mr. CHIKOTE this evening .

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