By Staff Reporter
A cartel of white farmers growing wheat are allegedly charging import duty, transport costs from exporting countries and other foreign charges on the locally grown wheat.
This according to a complaint lodged by some local millers with finance ministry, in which the local millers complained that the cartel of some named white farmers were charging the locally grown wheat as if it was imported from Russia, Argentina and elsewhere in the world.
“A cartel of white farmers who are growing wheat are taking advantage of the local people to inflate the price of the local wheat. This complaint is here at Ministry of Finance and our minister has not yet acted upon it,” said a source at Ministry of Finance.
According to sources at Ministry of Finance, some white farmers have ganged up with a named milling company owed by whites to inflate the price for the cartel to make profit from the local liberalized market.
Sources disclosed that the named white farmers add clearing charges on the locally produced wheat, thereby contributing to the increase in price of the commodity by the milling company with whom they have established a cartel.
According to sources at Finance ministry, an estimated cost of growing wheat in Zambia was about US$ 200 per tone and yet the cartel was demanding between US$ 380 and US$ 420 per tonne.
“Why should this cartel be allowed to abuse the local market by charging duty, 10 per cent transport and all other import charges on the locally produced wheat?” asked the source. “Why should this same cartel be allowed to make 100 per cent profit? At the end of the day, it is the local consumer and innocent Zambians that pay for the cost as the millers pass on this cost to them.”
Sources wondered why the Patriotic Front (PF) government that claim to be a government of the people, allowed such a cartel to continue inflating the wheat price and manipulating the local market.
“This is a complaint brought to the attention of Honourable minister Margaret Mwanakatwe by some local millers but up to now she has not acted on it. If government allows importation of wheat, the imported product will cost much cheaper if they removed duty on imported wheat,” said a source.