Kitwe District Agriculture Coordinator Raphael Muyaule says the new maize price set by government tarries with the prices in the region.
Speaking during a Heads of Government Departments meeting chaired by Kitwe District Commissioner Lawrence Mwanza, Dr. Muyaule said the price was fair if government intends to export later and to maintain the mealie-meal prices locally.
“If your look around, this is actually the same prices obtaining within the region and an increase further would mean that we will be subsidizing the region if we intend to export, we will be exporting at a lesser price than what we bought it at, this happened two years ago where government bought at a higher price and in trying to mitigate the market prices for mealie-meal government had to sell at a lower price so meaning government was subsidizing or incurring a loss,” He said.
He said if government buys maize at a high price the mealie-meal prices will in turn be high.
He however, noted that farmers still had the option to sell to other players other than the Food Reserve Agency.
He also noted that government might struggle to buy the targeted maize quantity for strategic reserves due to the low crop yield this year.
Last week government announced this year’s maize floor price which is at K160.
The development has drawn mixed feelings with majority of stakeholders saying it is too low when compared to the cost of growing maize.