CTPD Head of Programmes and Research Brain Chiko Mwiinga said the injustices the small-scale farmers were subjected to last year when they were paid an amount way less than what was paid in 2016 is likely not to be the case this year.
Mr Mwiinga said it is most likely that the price will be above the paltry K60 they received as a reward for their hard work in 2017
“Our concern as CTPD is that the benefits that accrue to the Zambian farmer should not be left to chance. They should be planned for with active participation of the farmers themselves,” he stated.
Mr Mwiinga added that CTPD is also concerned with governments silence over the 2018 crop marketing season road map.
He said it is not yet clear how much and where government intends to purchase grain this year and at what price.
“Our appeal to small scale farmers is that they should exercise caution as they trade their grain in this marketing season, if they exercise patience, they stand to get a good for their produce, farmers should consider exploiting opportunities offered by trading platforms such as the Zambia Commodity Exchang, these would give the farmers the real market prices for their commodities and trading through the platform can actually be more profitable,” he said.
“Despite the projected low yields in terms of grain harvest for crops such as maize, we urge the government to maintain an open boarder policy on maize trade; this ensures trade predictability and can lead to investments inflows into the agriculture sector. The maize we expect to have plus carry over stock is still enough sitting mostly with the private sector is still enough to support both domestic and industrial consumption,” Mr Mwiinga observed.
“We also would like to advise the government around the perceived failures of the E Voucher, we are of the view that poor implementation of the initiative is what needs to be addressed, not reverting to conventional FISP which just breeds corruption and pilferage of public resources. We cannot as a country continues mishandling a sector which is a source of livelihood for the majority of the country’s population.”
Mr Mwiinga said it is regrettable that the nation does not seem to learn from mistakes especially when it comes to managing the agriculture sector.