Over K500 million is still being owed to farmers by the Food Reserve Agency(FRA) for maize supplied in the 2020-2021 crop marketing season.
This came to light in Choma today when Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) President Jervis Zimba addressed farmers during an annual general meeting for the Choma-Kalomo farmers association.
Mr Zimba said small scale farmers are usually the most affected by the situation as most earn their living from maize farming.
He noted that the next farming season is soon approaching, adding that the tendency to pay the farmers during the rainy season negatively affects their farming activities.
“FRA must have a heart for the farmers. As a union, we are giving them 14 days to pay. We will take them on. We know what their act says. We know what their invoice says,” Mr Zimba warned.
However, Provincial Agriculture Coordinator Marx Choombe, who represented Southern Province Minister Cornelius Mweetwa at the meeting, could not immediately respond to the ZNFU demand but stated that the new dawn government has embarked on revitalizing the ailing agriculture sector through implementation of new measures to enhance agricultural productivity and production.
Dr. Choombe has encouraged small scale farmers to take advantage of the new environment to diversify crop production away from the maize crop to high value crops such a Soybeans and Sunflower so as to earn more money and reduce dependency on maize.
He further assured the farmers of government’s commitment to supporting value addition to agricultural produce for the growth and stability of the sector.
“As already stated by the republican President during the official opening of Parliament, government will continue the promotion of crop diversification, value addition and improved livestock production. I therefore encourage farmers to go the way with crop diversification.” Dr. Choombe said.