Zambia president calls for corn price drop on food riot fears

Millers are exporting cheap corn, say government officials

Zambia’s president has called for corn millers to drop their prices on fears that current prices might start food riots among the local population. 

Corn has nearly doubled in price since November, reaching 80 Zambian kwacha (US$15) per 25-kilogram bag from 45 kwacha (US$8.50), in spite of the fact that the country has had bumper crops for the past three seasons.

Industry officials attribute higher prices to higher transportation and energy costs, but government officials say millers are exporting cheap corn to neighboring countries instead of supplying the local market. In the past couple of years, high food prices have resulted in riots in countries such as Uganda, Malawi, Mozambique and Sudan, according to reports.