PARLIAMENT heard yesterday that the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) will buy 500,000 metric tonnes of maize for strategic reserves in this year’s crop marketing season.
Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya told the House in a ministerial statement that starting from the 2017/2018 marketing season, farmers who will buy maize from FRA will be paid a producer price that covers the cost of production.
Ms Siliya said the price at which FRA will sell maize to millers should reflect the full cost of purchase, transport, storage and fumigation during the 2017/2018 marketing season.
The minister said Government will evaluate the operations and mandate of FRA through a review of the existing legislation.
“It was reviewed that the FRA concentrates its buying of maize to outlying areas and sells to institutions such as schools, hospitals, correctional service and vulnerable communities,” she said.
Ms Siliya said FRA has already started preparations for the 2017/2018 crop marketing season and will soon announce the price at which it is able to buy a bag of maize.
And Ms Siliya said FRA, which had previously been operating 1,223 satellite depots, will this year operate only 760 satellite depots countrywide.
“If we maintain the 1,223 satellite depots this year to procure 500,000 metric tonnes, it will require a total of K81.9 million, a similar amount to be used to procure almost two million metric tonnes in the past,” she said.
Ms Siliya said operating the proposed 760 satellite depots will require K50.9 million.
“As can be seen, this results in saving at least K31 million,” she said.