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Zambian Corn Millers Agree Price Cuts After Meeting Sata

Jan. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Zambian President Michael Sata said corn millers agreed to reduce soaring prices of the staple food after meeting him today.

It’s “not the intention of the government to introduce price controls,” Sata said in an e-mailed statement. Still, the state has “a duty to protect the masses against manipulative practices by unscrupulous businessmen,” he said.

Sata warned millers not to exploit the poor with prices that he said on Dec. 21 were unacceptably and unjustifiably high. Corn rose more than 50 percent in some parts of the country in the last two months of 2012.

Zambia, which subsidizes corn production, recorded inflation of 7.3 percent in December, the fastest pace in more than a year. Sata threatened to re-introduce price controls for corn-meal if millers failed to make voluntary cuts, the Lusaka-based Post newspaper reported Dec 28.

To contact the reporter on this story: Matthew Hill in Lusaka at mhill58@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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