The Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) says the announced Maize buying price by the Food Reserve Agency is nowhere near what they had recommended.
The FRA today announced the price of K2.20 per Kg or K110 per 50Kg for white maize, K3.00 per Kg or K140 per 50Kg bag for soya beans and K1.75 or K70 per 40Kg bag of paddy rice.
But ZNFU Spokesman Calvin Kaleyi said the announced price is a far cry from what was agreed.
“ZNFU was invited to a consultative meeting with the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and the announced price is nowhere near the range recommended by the stakeholders of K130 to K140 per 50Kg bag of white maize based on prevailing market price indications.”
“Regrettably, the FRA price of K110 per 50Kg bag is far below the current maize prices being offered in the main producing areas such as Central and Eastern Provinces,” Mr Kaleyi said.
“Recognizing that there are different producer prices prevailing in different parts of the country being offered by private buyers who are paying spot cash and the fact that the maize production forecast declined, farmers should search to obtain the best price possible prevailing in the area.”
He said the Union recognizes that the cost of production has increased and continues to escalate while the asset base of farmers has been wiped out by the adverse weather pattern which has been prevailing season after season since 2015 and the hostile macroeconomic environment.
“It is not an exaggeration to state that farming profitably today has remained unattainable by many farmers.”
The Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has announced that it will this year buy maize at K110 per 50 kilogram bag from last year’s K75 per 50kilogram bag of maize.
However, President Edgar Lungu has said that the increase in the flow price of the maize grain in this year’s marketing season will encourage more Zambians to take up farming as a business.
President Lungu said the increase in prices for maize grain from K75 last marketing season to K110 this marketing season will encourage more farmers to take up farming as a serious business.
The President has since welcomed the new maize flow price and called on farmers to treat farming as a business.
The Head of State noted that his government has been encouraging Zambians to take up farming as a serious business and earn money out of it.
He said his government is serious about diversifying the economy as planned in the 7th National Development Plan by encouraging farming amongst citizens.
The President was speaking at Kabwe Trust School shortly before departure for Lusaka after he officially opened the first ever 5-Star Urban Bliss hotel in Kabwe.
The announcement for the new maize flow prices are expected to excite farmers and farmer organisations as they complained bitterly against low prices that the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) pegged in last year’s maize marketing season.