GOVERNMENT has announced changes to the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) as well as the role that the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) will now play during the 2013/2014 crop marketing season following the removal of subsidies.
Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Robert Sichinga said the FISP, provides production subsidies mostly for maize grain to about 900,000 small-scale farmers.
At a press briefing in Lusaka yesterday, the Minister said Government funding to FRA was not adequate and not readily available resulting in delayed payments to farmers in the past years creating budget overruns.
“The implication of the removal of the subsidy is that the price of our staple food commodity – mealie meal, will inevitably have to rise,” Mr Sichinga said.
Mr Sichinga said the FRA would purchase maize in accordance with the act but would restrict its participation in the market to secure strategic grain reserves and any excess that would remain after private sector participation.
“The government, decided for the 2011/12 season, to maintain the farmer contribution at KR50 per 50kg bag. This is despite the fact that the cost of managing the programme had risen significantly,” he said.
He said during 2012 the total cost of the production for subsidy was estimated at KR1,181.2 million adding that there was an outstanding debt of about KR280 million, arising from unpaid expenses.
He said if the current subsidy was maintained the FRA would continue to be recording losses and continue to depend on government for funding, to support such subsidies.
Mr Sichinga said the Authority was currently carrying a debt estimated at about KR2.2 billion, carried over from 2011 and 2012 maize marketing season.
“One of the goals of the Government is to encourage farmers to diversify and promote the growing of other high value crops and calls for the promotion of tailor-made subsidies, towards small-scale farmers and the promotion of a much wider range of crops,” he said.
He said Government was likely to enact legislation that would govern the marketing of agricultural commodities in Zambia and expected to result in the eventual reform of the operations of the FRA.
“Private sector participation in marketing, encouraging the private sector to play a greater role in maize marketing would have the positive impact of reducing the financial burden on the treasury and ensure millers have more control over their own stock,” Mr Sichinga said.
Useless..u must b wrong man fo de job
You are playing with FIRE Mr Sichinga, be realistic and know that all your family members depend on Nshima as a staple food. Even you when you go out on duty, you miss Nshima, right? MMD tried giving the maize market to the private sector but failed. Have u tried to find out why and how? Be assured of elevated poverty becoz peasant farmers will loose out while brief case business men will amass wealth. I am PF but on this one, you have drawn a bad card bane. CUT MY FINGER IF THIS WILL WORKOUT. I CAN BET, YOU WILL SOON BE COMPELLED TO DROP THIS DECISION. Remember NAMBOARD was scrapped by MMD bcoz they thot they where smart, only to be re-introduce it in the name of FRA. Naleka,Epo napela.
I have 10 tons to offload from my 97 ha piece of land.
the subsidies of maize is good in pf because is nothing like government buy maize from farmers and again same govenment sold to millers better sold to other countries in high price to use money to build infrastracture for future use schools , colleges and univesity.
meaning maize production among peasant farmers will reduce because many were able go into maize production because of the ready FRA market. Now the few who will be able to produce maize with its expensive production costs will have to determine the price of the commodity for majority who enjoyed subsidies. So the market will determine the rules: only the strong will survive, the weak who have no financial muscles will have to dance to the tune of those financially strong. So my dear poor maize farmer in the village, tighten your belt.
Capitalism so they call it………………….
Welcome to the real world folks! Now I see why this goon was moved to the agricultural ministry by Sata. Welcome back brief case maize buyers courtesy of Chiluba! I’m a big time maize farmer who’s going to now grow it for my pigs. It will be more profitable and less headaches.
Another blow on the farmers…… briefcase businessmen buy maize from farmers at less than K40 per 50kg resulting in more afflication to small scale farmers….the farmers used to sell maize to briefcase businessmen only when they had pressing issues that can’t wait for delayed payments from FRA. Now they will have to deal with briefcase businessmen as a normal business that will never benefit the farmer at whatever angle one looks at it…PAYA FARMER AT WORK……..
I hate this Chimpanzee called Sichinga
If Zambians are still in doubt that Sata is a savage barking dog, Then u have no doubt
For goodness sake how does he give Maize to human rights abuser Mugabe at the same time increase Mealie Meal prices for Zambians?
Our gallant security men in uniforms who are the real patriotic Zambians and have Zambian relatives dying of hunger and preventable disease, SHOULD SHOOT this Dictator in front of the gate at State House together with Kabimba & the evil Chief INJUSTICE Chibesakunda
Sata should just be shot to save Zambians from perishing and dying!
Zambians are so happy that Sata and his evil PF corrupt govt have come to an end now
Surely Sata should be tied behind a speeding vehicle and paraded along CAIRO road when he will be arrested
FRA will buy from the line of rail. OUR Poor Mums and dads in the villages will be left at the mercy of vultures.
PF has no manners Not even bad ones.
next time vote wisely even during by elections do the same ganeral election chimwi no plan is not there for poor zambians no
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