Eastern Province Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo has implored school authorities in the region not to send away pupils who have not paid school fees.
Mr. Kasolo said he had received reports from traditional leaders that some farmers were selling maize to briefcase buyers at very low prices in order to raise funds to pay for their children’s school fees.
ZANIS reports that the permanent secretary said head teachers in schools especially in rural areas should not send back pupils for failure to pay fees .
He observed that most parents of affected pupils are farmers who are yet to sell maize to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) .
He noted that the agency had not started buying maize as it was still waiting for the moisture content of the crop to reduce.
Speaking during a press briefing in Chipata yesterday, Mr. Kasolo said government was eager to start buying maize from farmers as soon as possible because there were concerns that neighbouring countries had no maize as a result of poor rainfall and might mop up the maize.
He observed that some buyers from neighbouring countries were buying the cereal crop from farmers when the maize was still in the fields.
‘’ If farmers start selling the maize whilst it is still in the fields, the danger is that it will not be possible to reach the 1,000, 000 tons of the maize harvest that has been projected by government,’’ Mr. Kasolo said.
He said farmers should resist selling the maize to unscrupulous buyers who are plying on people’s poverty especially in rural areas.
And Mr. Kasolo said people should be more vigilant to ensure maize is not smuggled out of the country.
The Permanent Secretary noted that it was every Zambian’s role to see that there was food security in the country by protecting maize from being smuggled out of the country.
He said the ban on the export of maize and its products by individuals and private entities is still in force until September this year except between governments.