Government has been called upon to quickly announce the floor price of maize in this year’s marketing season to protect farmers from being swindled by brief case maize traders.
And Government has also been urged to ensure that it quickly moves into rural areas and buy maize from small scale farmers in order to beef up the national reserves in view of the global food crisis.
Magoye Member of Parliament, Bennie Mweemba, told ZANIS in Mazabuka today that any delay in announcing the market floor price would impact negatively on the national food reserves because some millers and other traders were already buying maize.
He complained that the unscrupulous maize traders who have invaded Magoye Constituency were allegedly cheating farmers that government had announced a floor price of K 25,000 for a 50 kilogramme bag.
He said there is need for the government to quickly announce the price of maize to enable farmers sell their produce at a reasonable profit.
Mr Mweemba also advised government to ensure that the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) is allocated enough funds to buy the produce from farmers before the bogus traders completely exhaust the commodity in rural areas.
He said government should not forget that currently, most nations are faced with a serious food crisis and that any delay to commence the marketing of the commodity would allow the private sector to cause artificial food shortages.
Meanwhile, Mr Mweemba has advised the Government to abolish the FRA after this year’s maize marketing programme and re-introduce the National Marketing Board (NAMBOARD).
He alleged that the FRA has failed to satisfy the needs of the Zambian farmers as evidenced by the delay in paying for the maize bought from farmers in the previous marketing seasons.