The Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has pegged K110 per 50 kilogram bag of white maize, as an amount for this year’s crop marketing season.
The agency has also fixed the price for a 50 kilogram bag of soya beans at K150 and 40 kilogram bag of paddy rice at K70.
Speaking at a press briefing in Lusaka today, FRA Board Chairperson, Joe Simachela, said it is anticipated that the FRA prices will not disadvantage the private sector who are expected to purchase the larger share of the 2, 0004, 389 metric tonnes produced, in the case of maize.
He explained that in consultation with government, the FRA undertook a process of crop price scenario analysis that included a survey of the prevailing farm gate and open market prices, with key market stakeholders and players in the crop marketing chain under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture.
The FRA Board Chairperson added that in determining the crop prices, the agency also analysed the indicative crop gross margin budgets taking care of input costs, in relation to commercial pricing and the subsidy beneficiaries of the government Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP).
He has further urged farmers to adhere to the general practice of ensuring that they clean the maize at their farmsteads to avoid congestion at FRA depots.
And Mr Simachela indicated that as a clear sign of its commitment and desire to promote and develop agriculture, government has released an initial amount of K74.4 million, for payment to farmers on first come first serve basis.
Mr Simachela said FRA has already disbursed the funds to various district farmers paying financial institutions in readiness for payment to farmers who deliver the crop to its depots upon meeting the necessary documentation and scrutiny.
He added that government is further committed to continue releasing funds to pay farmers periodically and promptly, to ensure FRA meet its purchase target.
Meanwhile, Mr Simachela announced that the crop purchase commences with immediate effect and ends on October 31, 2019.
He stated that through the statutory instrument SI No. 93 of 2015, there are eight designated commodities that includes white maize, orange maize, rice, sorghum, sunflower, groundnuts, soya beans and beans.
Mr Simachela however said FRA only intends to purchase 300,000 metric tonnes of white maize, 4,000 metric tonnes of soya beans and 1,000 metric tons of paddy rice.