K60 for 50 KG bag of maize is a heartless and barbaric farmer genocide

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File: Peasant farmers wait for the Food Reserve Agency to buy their maize

The state cannot be represented by very corrupt, bribable, power and money hungry politicians who if paid handsomely enough can even insult themselves publicly and be expected to yield plausible results. Entrusting individuals like home affairs Minister Steven Kampyongo, Defence Minister Davies Chama, Justice Minister Given Lubinda, Finance minister Felix Mutati, Agriculture minister Dora Siliya with instruments of power is tantamount to acquiring an express ticket to an economic sabotage. These people are given to parading with political statements on the media which make them seem like they are working in the best interest of the people of Zambia but when in the actual sense they are only concerned with the acquisition of taxpayers wealth. It seems like their foresight and interpretation of the practical translation of the national decisions they make is humongously derailed due to their putrid blatant characters of thinking about their bellies before they can consider the people they serve. Maybe we take a look at the few incidences where we have been lucky to have actually been availed with information concerning their fraudulent activities.

I thought since they have been singing about diversification into the agriculture sector they are supposed to be supporting farmers in every way that they can

FELIX MUTATI
During the MMD era Hon. Felix Mutati who is the current Minister of Finance, at the time he was Commerce Minister illegally facilitated the establishment of Pepsi Company in Zambia without following the right procedures. Hon. Mutati personally was paid by Pepsi in order to be given the tax rebate for 5 years, and other conditions that disadvantaged other companies and indeed local companies in Zambia.

During his time as commerce Minister he travelled to India and met high ranking Pepsi officials and assured them that they can invest in Zambia, at the time Mutati received huge sums of money for his personal use to facilitate the establishment of Pepsi in Zambia. During the same period of the MMD under Former president Banda, Hon. Mutati again presided over a very corrupt transaction involving a local registered company called Sanitary World Limited under the auspices of Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) and Zambia Development Agency (ZDA).
It is on record that with the influence of Hon. Mutati CEEC funded a project which was to be undertaken by Sanitary world Limited to procure machinery that could produce diapers locally under the theme “Proudly Zambian”.However, Hon. Mutati connived with CEEC and ZDA officials to procure containers of already made diapers from [Nanjing Biaoyue International Trade Co. Limited of China and pocketed Thousands of dollars. As if that wasn’t enough Hon. Mutati went ahead and officiated the commissioning of the purported project by Sanitary World limited, which was held at Southern Sun Ridgeway Hotel.We challenge the Honourable Minister of Finance Felix Mutati to show the nation where they established a factory for Sanitary World Limited which was producing diapers. This is the kind of a person our country has trusted with the finances of our nation in the position of Minister of Finance.

DORA SILIYA
THE MALAWIAN Joint Committee of Parliament took to probe the maizegate scandal which exposed Zambia Agriculture Minister Dora Siliya’s. The deatails are that she flouted the legal procedure by instructing her Permanent Secretary to issue a Maize export permit of 50,000 metric tons to an illegal Transglobe Export Produce Ltd.
The Committee discovered that Transglobe did not qualify to undertake such a transaction because it was not registered tax payer in Zambia. The committee also discovered that Transglobe fraudulently connived with Malawian Minister of Agriculture Dr George Chaponda to get it business to supply the maize.
Again, while Minister of Transport and Communications in the Rupiah Banda led regime, Dora Siliya again flouted tender procedures by signing an agreement with a Cayman Island registered company for the valuation of the assets of ZAMTEL.
The Attorney General had advised Dora not to sign before certain issues were addressed but she disregarded the advise and signed a US$2 million deal.
On February 25, 2009 a tribunal was put up against Siliya led by Supreme Court Judge Dennis Chirwa – she was found guilty as charged, and she was forced to resign as a minister after so much resistance.

Anyway I am surprised that some people are surprised that these people are capable of such indeferrence towards the people who gave them the powers they have.Notwithstanding, I have failed to see how the ministers failed to see that reducing the floor for the purchase of a 50 KG bag of maize from a last year campaign price of K85 to K60 is injurious to the peasant farmers agriculture business.

I thought since they have been singing about diversification into the agriculture sector they are supposed to be supporting farmers in every way that they can. Maybe they are suffering from amnesia, if I recal very well, firstly,in the last farming season farms were ravaged by army worms which made the cost of farming to go up because farmers had to replant most of the crops.

Secondly the cost of farming was high last year because the kwacha was trading at K14 per $1. If anything the price for selling a bag of mealie meal was supposed to go up. Thirdly the delivery of inputs by the outdated FISP was pathetic. Inputs were delivered very late and caused farming to be a disaster for some farmers. We are likely to see a situation where farmers are going to bail out in the next farming season, poverty is going to increase from 75% to elevated levels as farmers are going to be so financially squeezed that they will be failing to pay for their children’s school fees or buy daily necessities like cooking oil, sugar and salt. This is nothing short of killing farmers and their business actively. And they are risking the failure of the precarious improvement of the agriculture sector.

All in all, we understand that they are trying to impress the nation with figures like single digit inflation rate and the price of mealie meal but they shouldn’t forget that victory gotten at the expence of others is no victory at all. So I am appealing to Hon Felix Mutati, Dora Siliya and President Edgar Chagwa Lungu to take time to think about these decisions and how they are affecting us the poor Zambians. And also to remember that 2021 is not as far as others may think.

By David Chishimba
Rainbow Party Coperbelt Youth Vice IPS

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12 COMMENTS

  1. But what’s the connection to this article with Mr Kampyongo, Mr Davis Chama and Mr Given Lubinda in the preamble…

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    • But why cant government just link these farmers directly to the Kenyan market and other markets in the region and tax them afterwards?

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  2. You criticise socialism but your article sounds socialist. You don’t have to sell to FRA.

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  3. After calculating the cost of inputs, I am going to sell my maize at K100 per 50kg bag for me to break-even.

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  4. I have to agree with a lot of what this statement says!

    Farmers have been given a raw deal! Govt intervention is needed! WHY???? Because at this maize price NO ONE WILL FARM IN THE COMING SEASON which will result in hunger and what will Dora and Mutati say??? They will be fired straight away for failing to see the outcome of their poor advice!!!!

    Farmers need at least a starting price of K75 per bag then the open market can go at K80 or K85.

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    • This statement is utter nonsense. The maize is grown with fertilizer, seed and chemicals paid for by the government. These farmers would have lost ALL their maize if the government had not airlifted in and distributed chemicals to save their maize from the army worm invasion.

      The government has paid for the maize to be produced, in the first place; why should the government have to pay extortionate prices for maize grown with its seed, fertilizer and chemicals?

      Yes, it’s taxpayer money. So, why should taxpayers pay for seed, fertilizer and chemicals, and then pay high prices for the maize grown with inputs which they paid for, before paying yet again for expensive mealie meal made from maize bought with their money?

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  5. Borders are open bane. Let’s export. Where are the cooperatives. Let the cooperatives find better markets in region. This will be a painful process but its necessary one. We can not continue to spend 89% of the agricultural sector budget on FRA and FISP. Read the report published by IAPRI 2017. It clearly paints a grim picture of the state of Zambian Agriculture because of FRA and FISP. What the sector needs is to improve production and productivity through investment in Research and Extension. These components are currently dead. We also need to invest in aquaculture and livestock development. This is where the money should be going. Let’s export the maize!

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  6. @true democrat you are right- the best route would be to export but what are the hopeless cooperatives doing about that??? Nothing… Zambia Cooperative Federation, Small Scale Farmers Union and ZNFU you guys better get things moving!!!!!

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  7. Export where ????

    Malawi has produced 3,1 million tons
    Zimbabwe has gone from 700,000 to 2,1 million tons
    South Africa has a surplus of 5 million tons !

    Kenya gets its maize delivered by ship to mombasa from mexico. Thats cheaper than sending a truck 2000km empty to go pick up cheap maize from zambia

    Basically guys we got carried away with the regional drought of 2016. Now reality has set in !!

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  8. This is one of the most ignorant articles I have read in a very long time, and is typical of Zambia’s ignorant loudmouth politicians.

    1. No farmer is obliged to sell their maize to FRA at the FRA’s offered price of K60.00 per bag. Farmers can sell their maize to anyone at whatever price they fix themselves

    2. Nearly ALL the farmer this author is referring to, WERE GIVEN FREE FERTILIZER, SEED AND CHEMICALS by the same government whom he is accusing of heartlessness and corruption. The government PAID for the seed, fertilizer and seed.

    3. The same government PAID for the CHEMICALS USED TO SAVE THESE FARMERS’ CROPS FROM THE ARMY WORM INVASION, otherwise many of these farmers would not have had any maize to sell even at K1.00 per bag

    4. It is the height of stupidity for the…

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