United Party for National Development (UPND) President Hakainde Hichilema has said that the recent increased floor price of maize is another sign that the PF Government doesn’t know whether it is coming or going, creating uncertainty in the business community everywhere from farming to mining.
In a statement released to the media this morning, the UPND leader questioned why the PF Government didn’t not budget for the new floor price just announced before the start of the farming season in September, 2015.
Below is the full statement
PF’s Conflicting Maize Policy
President Edgar Lungu announced in Shibuyunji that the floor price of maize is increased from K 75.00 per 50kg bag to K 85.00, despite his Minister of Agriculture announcing just a few weeks ago that K75.00 would be the floor price.
This is another sign that the PF Government doesn’t know whether it is coming or going, creating uncertainty in the business community everywhere from farming to mining.
Why didn’t his Government budget for the new floor price just announced before the start of the farming season in September, 2015? If President Lungu cared about the welfare of the farmers, he wouldn’t be leaving such an announcement until during the election campaign period. As a matter of fact the announced price still does not make maize profitable especially with the increased cost of production under the PF government.
If President Lungu cared about the welfare of the farmers he wouldn’t have seen the continued decline in the share of the national budget invested into agriculture, which has fallen from 7.8% in 2008 to as low as 3.2% of the national budget in 2016.
What President Lungu has done here is like a bad marketer who fattens a cow on the marketing day. Will the cow gain more kilograms? The answer is a categorical no!
Agriculture is part of the UPND 10 Point Plan for Zambia. When we form government we will consult the farming community and come up with a floor price of a 50 kg of maize that makes good business sense for farmers and incentivizes them to grow more maize and other produce, reassured that they will get a good return on their labour and investment.
That is to say, we shall announce the floor price before the start of a farming season in order to stimulate more investment into the sector by both the large-scale farmers and the small-scale farmers.