The Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) successfully held its 112 th Annual Congress with the Union president Mr. Jervis Zimba saying the mood surrounding the maize production; the country’s staple food; is grow maize if you have already secured a market … otherwise “grow maize at your own peril”.
In a stunning address to Congress, graced by the President of the Republic of Zambia Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, Mr. Zimba called on government to foster predictable marketing policies to enable various players in the value chain make a reasonable return on the investments and sustain operations. The ZNFU president said maize production in Zambia is under serious jeopardy.
And Mr. Zimba bemoaned the increased involvement of government in doing business saying this is generating concerns among the agribusinesses at it is having distortionary effects.
“Indeed, competition in business is healthy and should be encouraged but it should be on a level playing field. This is because the private sector stake investments are based on funds sourced on commercial terms while when government gets involved in business, the resources are obtained from sources that have soft terms. Here, our appeal is that prior consultations with the private sector should be done in developing investment promotion strategies to avoid new investments having distorting effects on existing businesses.”
And Farmers in Lufwanyama District of the Copperbelt have vowed not to grow maize during the 2017/2018 farming season unless they are guaranteed of good markets and prices.ZNFU Farmers decried the nonchalant attitude by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) when looking at the farmer or producer price for maize saying the K60/50kg bag has ‘killed them. ‘
Farmers also bemoaned the increase in fuel prices. They said this will in turn add to the
cost of transportation of the commodity to market and pushes them into making more
losses. The farmers disclosed that they are being charged K5000 to load 600 bags of
maize on a truck and are also being levied K1 per bag by the Council.