The Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) has called on the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to urgently give its full position on maize procurement in this marketing season.
We have noted with concern that hundreds of bags of maize belonging to small scale farmers are going to waste at some named Food Reserve Agency (FRA) depot in various districts due to lack of proper warhorses or sheds.
In a statement released to the media by CTPD’s Trades and Development Researcher Emmanuel Muma, the Centre said that it has noticed that over the years, several bags of maize grain are usually stored outside FRA depots covered with tarpaulin tents and subjected to the sun an indication of lack of storage facilities by the Agency.
The Centre further said that post-harvest loss is very costly not only to farmers but also on the national treasury, adding that for a long time, loss of harvested crops due to degradation in quality and quantity of food production has been as a result of inadequate Storage Facilities.
“FRA should therefore limit its purchases to its capacity because clearly, it does not have adequate storage facilities with improved technologies to support grain or food storage for a longer period of time, ” the statement read.
A CTPD close check across the country reveals that most FRA storage facilities including silos are in a deplorable state and do not have adequate modern technological equipment to maintain cleanliness, temperature, and humidity and the Centre urged Government to consider the following recommendations moving forward.
- There is a need to immediately conduct an analysis of FRA’s storage capacity, including the state and conditions of the storage structures.
- Limit FRA’s crop purchases to its capacity accordingly and allow the private sector to mop out extra grain.
- More storage facilities should be constructed to bridge the gap and maintenance of the existing storage structures and ensure that they are equipped with modern technological facilities.
The Centre concluded by saying that these measures will help to create a clear coordinated mechanism that realistically takes into account the capacity of the FRA and reduce recklessness in government expenditure.