•   Costas Const/los   14 Mar 11:54

    THE current food deficit the Southern Africa region is facing has resulted into the smuggling of maize from Zambia into some neighbouring countries by some unscrupulous individuals.

    This unfortunate development demonstrates the seriousness of the food deficit and there is need for Zambia to secure its stocks for the ‘rainy day’.Yesterday, the Zambia Revenue Authority reportedly seized assorted brands of mealie-meal worth K8,000 which was about to be exported to Zimbabwe, at the Victoria Falls border in Livingstone.Last week, the ZRA impounded 28 trucks laden with maize destined for Malawi at the Mwami border post.Government has banned the export of maize against the prediction that the country’s harvest for the 2015/2016 season would be a third lower because of the drought that has hit the region.With the ban in place, the commodity is now classified as controlled and one who wants to export it should obtain a permit, failure to which the action amounts to smuggling.While Government wants to maintain its good neighbourliness in the region, there is a recognition that it has the first responsibility to its citizens and measures like the banning of the export of maize are only meant to ensure there is enough food for the country.We have time and time again seen Government allow the export of maize to, say, countries like Zimbabwe but this is done when the country’s reserves are enough for both local consumption and export.Even if there are financial gains to be made, any caring Government would not leave its citizens stranded and it is in this vein that it is doing everything to ward off starvation in the country.It is therefore disappointing that there are some elements who are bent on undoing Government’s sincere intentions aimed at safeguarding food security for its citizens.These incidences of smuggling maize or mealie-meal undermine Government efforts and they should be dealt with severely, given the possibility of a poor harvest.We expect citizens to be responsible and work alongside Government, but if they fail to adhere to these regulations, then the long arm of the law should bring them back on track.We commend the ZRA officers for their work in busting the covert activities of smuggling.We urge them to always be on the lookout for such activities.We implore very caring Zambians not to be part of such activities so that we do not suffer the consequences of insufficient food stocks. We should all observe the export ban.Source : Daily Mail - https://www.daily-mail.co.zm/?p=61876