THE Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has received an initial of K60 million from Government for purchasing of over 40,000 tonnes of maize from farmers countrywide in this year’s marketing season.
The agency was buying a 50 kilogramme bag of maize at K70.
Over 10 banking institutions among others Finance Bank Zambia, Investrust, Zambia National Commercial Bank and the Zambia Post Services have been engaged as pay-points.
FRA executive director Chola Kafwabulula said at a press briefing in Choma yesterday that K60 million was disbursed to all regions in readiness for payments to farmers.
He said the agency, this marketing season, had put more effective measures to ensure funds for purchasing maize were available before commencement of the exercise.
“As FRA, we have put more effective measures on purchase of maize from farmers and this K60 million is readily available waiting for farmers to sale their maize,” he said.
He said, out of K60 million, about K7.7 million had been allocated to the entire Southern Province in which Choma, as a provincial capital, would receive K1.5 million for maize purchase.
He cited Chongwe District in Lusaka Province, Sinazongwe and Gwembe in Southern Province and some parts of Copperbelt province, where FRA had started buying maize.
“During this marketing season, we want to be faster than previous seasons in buying maize and right now the money is ready waiting for farmers,” Mr Kafwabulula said.
He, however, said in some parts of the country the agency would have to wait for the maize moisture content to reach about 12.5 per cent before purchasing the commodity.
He said, about 117,000 tonnes of maize storage was created to add to other numerous existing sheds for the maize stocks.
Mr Kafwabulula said various satellite depots countrywide had been equipped with sufficient empty bags and weighing facilities used for maize purchasing exercise.
Choma District Commissioner Bernadette Hamweemba was grateful to FRA for early mobilisation of funds to pay farmers through designated banks.
She said farmers in Choma were impressed with Government’s quick action to release funds before serious commencement of FRA buying maize.