President Edgar Lungu had called on the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to farmers competitive prices for their grain during the 2019 marketing period.
Making an address during the National Field Day in Kapisha, Chief Mibenge’s area in Mansa, President Lungu noted challenges delayed payments to farmers and called on the FRA to pay farmers on time and also pay them competitive prices.
The President prodded the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Finance to work together and sort out what the perennial problems of delayed payments to farmers and suppliers.
President Lungu also urged the Ministry of Agriculture to conclude negotiations with inputs suppliers by May so that in turn inputs would be distributed on time to farmers. He said he would like to see inputs distributed before the onset of rains. And President Lungu reiterated that the country will not export mealie meal until it is ascertained that there is enough for the country.
The President also said only excess grain will be exported after harvest.
Government has called on millers to invest in their own storage sheds and stop their dependency on FRA maize supplies for their businesses.
President Lungu observed during the National Field Day in Mansa that millers have been leaning heavily on the FRA maize supplies instead of getting in the fields and out flung areas to buy their own grain from farmers.
The President said this should stop and urged millers to invest in their own storage facilities in strategic farming areas. He warned that in future millers would find it hard to purchase maize from FRA.