Senior Chief Nkula of the Bemba people of Chinsali in Muchinga Province, has bemoaned the continued trend of his subjects selling crop fields even before harvest is done.
Speaking during a live programme on Radio Delight Kwitonta FM on COVID -19 sensitization anchored by Harrison Phiri, Senior Chief Nkula said he is disappointed with some of his subjects who have started selling their maize which is still in the field to briefcase buyers.
The traditional leader said so far he has caught two of his subjects who have sold their maize crop which is still in the field at K10, 000 to a foreign national.
Senior chief Nkula said investigations into the third suspect are underway adding that he will deal firmly with anyone who will be found selling maize before harvest starts.
The traditional leader said what is saddening is that people selling their crop fields are beneficiaries of government fertilisers under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP).
He warned that premature sale of the farm produce even before government announces the floor maize price for this year’s marketing season is a big threat towards household food security.
Senior chief Nkula added that he has since banned the buying of maize in his chiefdom and further directed all those who have invaded his chiefdom with intent to buy maize fields to immediately stop and leave the area.
“Foreigners have invaded my chiefdom buying maize from my subjects which is still in the field at as little as K10, 000 only,” he said.
And Chinsali District Commissioner Maximo Chitambi, who also spoke during the same Delight Kwitonta FM Radio programme, expressed disappointment at the behaviour of some small scale farmers who are selling their crop which is still in the field.
Mr. Chitambi said premature sale of the produce for the 2019/2020 farming season will greatly affect the household food security in the district.
He said last week, the district received 3,620 bags of relief mealie meal each weighing 12.5 kilogrammes for the residents of Chinsali who have been affected by hunger due to floods being experienced in the area.
Mr. Chitambi added that it is unfortunate that at the time government expects people of Chinsali to have enough food for home consumption, others have already started prematurely selling their crop to briefcase business men who have invaded the district.
Meanwhile, senior chief Nkula has warned that anyone who will be found brewing local beer in his chiefdom will be dealt with accordingly.
The chief said people should adhere to the presidential directive to close down the bars, observe social distancing and maintain high standards of personal hygiene by washing hands with soap and clean water regularly.
The traditional leader also reiterated the need for parents and guardians to take care of their school-going children by ensuring that they are not allowed to roam the streets aimlessly during this period when schools, colleges and universities are closed.