The Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) has said that it is saddened with the maize price of K60/50kg bag announced by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA).

In a press statement released to the media , ZNFU said that the offered price will leave a farmer with a loss of K15 per 50Kg bag.

“As ZNFU, we have since classified FRA as briefcase buyers for the 2016/2017 Marketing season as its decision is now going to inject more poverty in our farmers. In the past FRA could come to the aid of farmers when such times arose,” read the statement

Below is the full statement

press release
25/07/2017

FRA MARKET PRICE OF K60

The Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) is saddened with the maize price of K60/50kg bag announced by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA).

It is obvious that this price will not benefit the farmer in any way. With a breakeven price for a 50kg bag of maize estimated at K75, the K60 FRA market price leaves a farmer making a loss of K15 per 50kg bag.

In reality, the FRA is offering farmers K1.20 per kg, way below full cost recovery price. This, really, is a morale dampener for farmers, coming from a season where they experienced Fall Army Worms (FAW), red locusts and flush floods, but withstood the odds.

Affected farmers had to replant, meaning more seed, more fertilisers, and more chemicals to spray farms against pestilences and hire labour. The cost of production has clearly been overlooked.
Farmers have been on the bad receiving end of the value chain all the time as opposed to consumers.

This development is disheartening to farmers that worked very hard to ensure the maize bumper harvest of 3.6 million metric tonnes was attained, even against the pestilences outbreaks and climate change vagaries.

Is this the best FRA could offer? What is the rationale behind this pricing mechanism?

The Union is alive to the mechanisms of demand and supply.

As ZNFU, we have since classified FRA as briefcase buyers for the 2016/2017 Marketing season as its decision is now going to inject more poverty in our farmers. In the past FRA could come to the aid of farmers when such times arose.

But if the FRA does not want to buy maize from farmers, let them clearly state so than punishing the farmers with a lowly price.

It is sad that farmers have once again been offered a pittance for their hard work, and the ZNFU will not shy away to state that this is discouraging. If this is the way to make agriculture the mainstay of the economy, then surely farmers must be looking at it from the wrong side of the fence.

The Union has been left with more questions than answers as to how such a price would be a motivating factor to even produce more during the 2017/2018 farming season. If anything, the message is don’t go out there and grow maize as farmers.

This season, in spite of bumper production in several other crops other than maize such as soya beans, conditions are pointing towards disaster for farmers, marketing-wise. We have had the worst market prices for soyabeans, which crushed from K5 to K1.50 per kg. The K60 for a 50kg bag of maize has just driven in the last nail to bury the farmer. All this comes against a backdrop of droughts experienced two seasons one after the other, astronomical interest rates and an increase in a host of costs that farmers have no control over.

Going into the 2017/2018 farming season, it will be difficult for farmers to gather courage to plant maize and soyabeans again, given the raw deal they have received for their sweat as the FRA is a market leader since it sets the parameters even for outlying areas.

If not carefully handled, the coming season might give us the worst figures in maize production ever which could jeopardise the country’s food security. What FRA has sown on the maize price, its impact will be felt in 2019. The indicators of this price show that farmers that are not on FISP will go bankrupt.

We should not forget what has happened to the cotton industry. What has happened to the coptton industry will surely happen to the maize sector. It it is self destruction.

We again, wish to implore government to consider engaging farmers every time they plan to make an important decision that impacts their businesses and lives.

For Zambia National Farmers’ Union

Jervis Zimba (Mr.)
PRESIDENT

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53 COMMENTS

  1. We need to help preserve our natural resources and gods gifts! save the farmers and the miners!!

    Look what is happening in ZCCM under our noses! Management paying more than they should? the question is why?

    ******

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  2. I grow tomatoes. I am used to the laws of demand and supply. So just sell elsewhere rather than to FRA.

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    • Come on people we have been through this before, a low price is announced deliberately, then farmers will crying, and political capital is made out them by a “listening government” and everyone will sing praises that the “father of the nation” has heard people’s cries and raised the floor price.

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    • if this was an election year, I would not expect the price and target of tonnes to be procured to have been this low. that’s why I grow my maize but I never sale to FRA. I grow what I can use for stock

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    • Last season most farmers refused to sell their maize to FRA because some political players instructed them so and farmers union said that farmers have choice to take their maize wherever they wanted. Farmers ended up selling their maize for less than K50 per 50kg bag. K60 is competitive price. Let those who did not benefit from FSIP take their maize elsewhere.

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    • This is really ridiculous. The International price of maize is around $3 per kg, but FRA wants to buy at $0.13 per kg. Why is FRA FIXING the price of a commodity that they do not produce? What Zambia needs is a real market economy and not a pretend market economy by quasi-socialists who have no idea of how capitalism works. Open stock exchanges in the provincial capitals so that farmers can compete with the market for their goods. This model is working very well in Ethiopia and has taken hundreds thousands of people out of poverty.

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    • Chitalu Chilufya refused to issue certificates to marijuana farmers. Inter cropping maize & weed would have solved this issue… Sale weed, and maize free to government through FRA.
      How much kilo of weed?

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    • Oh, my mistake!
      Actually, the international price of maize I quoted was not per kg, but per bushel which is about 26 kg. So it works out at K1.28 per kg and that looks like what FRA is offering. So farmers are not being cheated and they should just chill and relax.
      Sorry for the misleading arithmetic I did quickly on a tissue paper!

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    • Very well said ba Jervis Zimba, very well said Sir! I agree 100percent with ZNFU on this one! FRA please be serious that price is death sentence to farmers!

      Dora Silya once again you have let down the farmers with this crazy pricing..please help the farmers or else the one who is going to farm this coming season is you and Mutati

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    • As long as government continues to dish out fertilizer and seed for free, the real market price of maize will continue to be distorted. Government are interested parties in this scenario because they want to reduce the price and stay in power. Serious farmers on the other hand want to get the best price for their hard work. Best option is for commercial farmers to artificially reduce local supply by exporting to neighbouring countries where they will get better prices.

      And please let us not compare a staple food with a luxury, perishable fruit / vegetable.

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  3. LET US WORK HARD AND IMPROVE OUR ZAMBIA. THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO DEPEND ON POLITICIANS.. LET US WORK LIKE THE JEWS…..
    LET US PLAN PROPERLY AND CEASE TO RELY ON CHARITY OR GFTS FROM THE GOVERNMENT.
    A BORROWER IS A SLAVE TO THE LENDER… A BEGGAR IS NEVER TREATED WITH RESPECT BY THE GIVER.
    ZAMBIANS , LET US DO OUR FARMING WITH OUR OWN CASH . WE CAN DO IT.

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    • Spot on!
      Politicians will never solve any of our national problems. It is us the citizens who can solve our problems at micro level. We don’t need GRZ in business as Chiluba rightly put it. GRZ should have no business in business! The job of GRZ is to create an enabling environment for private enterprise to flourish. Sadly, the current environment is too toxic for that to happen. We are back to UNIP days! Shame!

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    • There is too much red tape in GRZ… they should leave business to business entrepreneurs..! Leave farmers alone PF – let them call the price for maize and other cash crops

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    • Naimwe all the time it’s politics. The situation is simple as @1.0 has explained it’s market forces at work. If you’re a good businessman you decide what to do with your product and no other person can force you.

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    • There is no market forces, it is PF corruption.

      Pf officials are holding export licences for maize ready to rip off the farmers…

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  4. Looks like trading is the only option in Zambia. The poor farmer involved in production is always hit below the belt. The price would have been fine if the maize was produced by the National Service or Zambia Army.

    The government should stop setting the floor price for maize and also desist from stopping companies exporting maize.

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  5. Fellow farmers what do you think the price should be? May they should leave it at last year’s K85.00. Any way I will also keep my maize and who ever wants to buy my maize will get at at my price as I spent a lot, fighting with army worms, no E-voucher, labour etc.

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  6. @ The Economist, what you’re suggesting are Classical Theories which MMD has been advocating since it’s inception and brought untold misery even to persant farmers…Hence this type of stereotype Economics was challenged by the Keynes Theories in 1948 which encourages Government interventions for a country to reach full employment because you can’t leave market forces to determine things otherwise only one sector will succeed at the expense of the other…If farmers do not grow maize in the next season, the same Government will be forced to import at great cost and where will they get the money from…

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  7. Nkw is buying at k100 ,cash. Why complain. Malawi is 15km from my house. They buy at k120

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  8. I was expecting to see a situation where sellers and buyers come together and agree on the selling and purchasing price. In this case, farmers representative groups such as Small Scale Farmers and Zambia National Farmers Union should have sat together with FRA to come up with a win-win price. It is the farmer who actually knows the cost of producing a bag of maize, and not the buyer.

    As a matter of fact, the information I have from my district, Petauke, is that some farmers there have already delivered their maize to FRA depots in anticipation of a better price than what the private buyers are offering. Now with this price, I hear that the farmers have threatened to withdraw their maize if the price is not adjusted upwards. There appears to be a standoff.

    Further, farmers are not…

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    • I am in control of my product. I’ve a friend who hoards the dollar and sells it when it appreciates against the kwacha. He doesn’t care how long it takes, he’ll wait.

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    • FRA is a flawed corrupt project…noone is brave enough to shake things up as they are all benefiting from it!!

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    • That’s the reason Namboard was dissolved. ..corruption and replaced with FRA. Unfortunately only the name changed not the habits.

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  9. It seems the people who come up with these barbaric prices are not farmers at all. We are not politicians to start posting nasty things on this issue. The answer is those people in the government who really mean well to poor peasant farmer who does not rest as even as at now, they are already digging holes to plant their maize in the next rainy season. Please revise the prices for goodness sake. Let us not be reduced to beggars even after trying to boost the economy through agriculture.

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    • This has nothing to do with politics. Its business. The law of demand and supply which you study in economics. Take politics out of business. You can supply your maize where you have better reserve price.

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  10. The current maize price has made prices for mealie meal to drop too to as low as K60 per 50KG.so this is a good move by FRA to keep mealie meal prices reasonable.
    Many Zambians today can easily afford to buy mealie meal and this is how it should be.lets all remember the law of demand and supply.farmers are free to sell their maize to other buyers who are offering more than FRA.
    ALL WE NEED IS THE PRICE OF MEALIE MEAL TO DROP FURTHER DOWN TO LESS K60 PER 50KG BREAKFAST BAG!!

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    • You are speaking for the consumers but what about the producers?….you don’t care for them…to you producers don’t matter. My dear farmers are very rational next year they will not grow maize and tell me who is going to feel the severe impact… is it not you consumers? Please its wise to shut up when you do not know what you are talking about.

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    • Next time you will buy mealie meal from Congo because you have killed a farmer. I always question the education background of PF cadres

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  11. If the farmers stop selling their maize.There will be a shortage in the market which will drive prices of mealie meal upwards.So whats the logic with the very low floor price?

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    • Ba independent, FRA Chief said they are working within their budget. You cant offer a price beyond your pocket. Let Law of supply and demand take shape. That’s what business is.

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  12. To hell with K60 per 50 kg bag I will just keep my maize and give it out to those who may need assistance. At least It will be better to help the needy in society.

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    • Hope not giving out of frustration.kikiki You can explore other supply options too.

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  13. If I remember very well it the same ZNFU which went to ransom the president about 10% export duty removal on maize so they could export to Kenya. Why cry about FRA price when you have the readly Kenyan market.

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    • Ba boyi ba Export, farmers cry is that this season’s harvest swallowed expensive inputs. Not long ago, fertilizers were costing k300 per bag pa e-vulture. I think their cry is justified. But like someone said, law of demand and supply will dictate flow of business.

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  14. PLEASE ALL FARMERS MUST RAISE UP AND DEFEND THEMSELVES BY SELLING THEIR MAIZE DIRECT TO CONGO ON A GOOD PRICE. CONGO IS PREPARED TO BUY YOUR MAIZE AT K300 PER BAG THAN WHAT THESE THEIVES WHO ARE EXPLOITERS.

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    • @sena which Congo are you talking about?
      don’t mislead farmers. maize here at kasumbalesa border
      is selling at k80 per bag sometimes even less than that and risks are very
      very high. you may end up losing
      Congolese are thieves

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  15. If the price of maize goes up even the mealie meal price will go up then you start condemning the government. POLITICS.

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  16. Its like auction where you determine the price for yourself. In this case FRA says 60 and if you really want the maize and have the muscle to peg it at 100 go on. Nobody is stopping you. This is the free market where supply and demand are the major players of the game.

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  17. I would really want Chief cadres going by the blog names of Mushota (The only PhD holder), Senior Citizen (very immature citizen I must say) and Mumba (the most successful Tenderpreneurs) add their foul breath here as well. Anything in defence of your “wise leader”?

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  18. I KEPT MY MAIZE UPTO JANUARY THIS YEAR AND SOLD IT OUT AT K250/ 50KG BAG IN SOLWEZI. PLEASE FARMERS DONT SELL OUT YOUR MAIZE TO FRA BUT KEEP IT UPTO OCTOBER AND MARK MY WORDS PF HAS NO FARM AND THEY WILL SHOUT OUT WITH A LOUD VOICE THEN YOU SHALL SELL YOUR MAIZE TO THE MALAWIANS, CONGOLESE, ANGOLANS AND ZIMBABWEANS AT A COST OF K300 PER 50 KG BAG.

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    • Problem is that waiting for prices to improve is also risky in that towards the start of the rain season, input prices go up, thereby wiping out gains. The best time to buy inputs is now – soon after selling your produce.

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  19. Duduna Reverse Farmers keep your Maize sell it to buyers in Angola and Congo at K100 – K120 per 50 kg
    bag.

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