Jesuit Scholars in Zambia Call for Establishment of Food Reserves amid Price Increase

Logo of the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR). Credit: JCTR

Officials of the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) are calling on the Zambian government to set up strategic reserves of food and essential commodities to cushion the Southern African nation against price fluctuations and supply shocks.

In their Basic Needs and Nutrition Basket (BNNB) statement outlining the cost of living for July 2023, the Lusaka-based Jesuit scholars say the price of Zambia’s staple food, mealie meal, has exceeded the monthly disbursement of K200 (US$10.00) per household provided under the Social Cash Transfer meant to boost the resilience of vulnerable families.

“The Centre therefore calls upon the government to establish strategic reserves of essential commodities like mealie meal to buffer against supply shocks and price fluctuations,” JCTR officials say in the statement shared with ACI Africa Tuesday, August 29. 

JCTR officials say the government can also promote increased cultivation by offering financial support to farmers. 

The Jesuit scholars call upon Zambia’s government to “quickly put in place strategies to reduce the cost of farming inputs aimed at bolstering maize production and other key cereals, in order to incentivise local farmers and to enhance domestic supply.”


JCTR officials also say the Zambia National Service (ZNS) “must come in to supplement the supply of mealie meal for the local market only while the private sector must be supported through consistent export policies in the sub-sector and other incentives to supply the yearning export market.”

The fact that mealie meal prices have exceeded the monthly Social Cash Transfer “highlights the gravity of the situation especially for vulnerable households”, say officials of the center that is engaged in research, advocacy, education, and consultancy on social issues.

JCTR officials also urge Zambians “to broaden their dietary choices in order to decrease dependence on a single food product and obtain all necessary nutrients.”

“Further, a deliberate policy to increase production of a diverse selection of food in different agricultural landscapes, builds resilience for the country even when it comes to crises like climate change, which has more recently presented itself in Zambia as floods and drought,” they say.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.