Several Food Resave Agency (FRA) depots in Muchinga Province have run out of empty grain bags halting the buying and selling process in the ongoing 2021 crop marketing exercise.
Speaking on behalf of other farmers who took their Maize to various FRA depots, Winford Simukoko complained that they have suffered a lot as they are waiting for their maze to be purchased by FRA.
Mr Simukoko said that FRA has run out of empty grain bags for repacking the maize grain leaving several small-scale farmers stranded with the commodity.
He lamented that it has become an expensive and laborious exercise of selling their commodity to FRA.
Mr. Simukoko added that some of the maize grains have started getting bad while some sacks brought in by small scale farmers have been damaged.
And when contacted for a comment, Muchinga Permanent Secretary, Captain Davison Mulenga said he is aware of the
shortage of FRA empty grain bags saying FRA management is working round the clock to resolve the situation.
‘We are aware of the situation and FRA is making frantic efforts to resolve the issue of empty grain bags,” said Captain Mulenga.
He has however appealed to farmers to be a patient as government through FRA attends to the matter.
Buying of maize by FRA has halted for almost two weeks after FRA ran out of empty grain bags in some of districts in Muchinga province.
Last week, the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has disclosed that the agency had started delivering empty grain bags of maize to farmers in various satellite deports in Eastern Province and other districts in the country.
FRA Public Relations Coordinator John Chipandwe said the agency has engaged suppliers to supply famers with 12 million additional empty grain bags to needy depots and have since started making deliveries on a daily basis after which the bags are dispatched.
“Suppliers have since started making deliveries on a daily basis after which the bags are dispatched to needy depots, with the continuous delivery of bags to the Agency by Suppliers,” he noted.
Mr Chipandwe assured the farmers that with the continuous delivery of bags to the agency by suppliers, the situation will normalize as soon as possible.
“The Agency has observed that the situation was as a result of the bumper harvest and the attractive price being offered by FRA implying that most farmers are opting to sale to the Agency which is a good thing as this will guarantee food security for the country,” he said.
Mr Chipandwe urged the farmers to clean their maize from their homes before going to any depot as this will shorten the time they spend at a depot and will also reduce congestion, prevent overcrowding and bursting of farmers’ bags at depots.