United Party for National Development (UPND) Spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa has said that the K160 maize purchasing price announced by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) is a transitory price and that FRA is not in a position to offer farmers a better price because of Zambia’s huge debt.
Speaking at a media briefing this morning, Mr. Mweetwa said that the party is aware of the concerns and dissatisfaction that Zambians are raising concerning the marginal increase in the maize purchasing price from K150 to K160.
Mr Mweetwa said the government is determined to ensure that farmers are offered better prices in the coming agriculture marketing season, urging farmers to be patient as the government is working at improving the maize purchase price.
Mr Mweetwa said the UPND is committed to the diversification of the economy away from mining and that this will be achieved through the growth of agriculture.
And Mr Mweetwa has described President Hakainde Hichilema’s trips outside the country as necessary, saying the trips are meant to link Zambia’s economy to international and regional markets.
Mr Mweetwa said international engagements are a basis for the country’s economic progress and to also advance Zambia’s image on the international scene.
Stakeholders in the agriculture sector have received the 2022 crop price set by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) with mixed reactions.
The FRA pegged its maize purchasing price for the 2022 grain marketing season at K160 per 50kg bag of white maize, translating to a K10 increment from last year’s K150 for the commodity while the price for soya beans is K550 per 50kg bag from last year’s K500 and K200 per 40kg bag of paddy rice from last year’s K195.
National Union for Small Scale Farmers (NUSFAZ) Executive Director Ebony Loloji said the price is cost-reflective and will give farmers that may not want to sell to FRA an opportunity to export their produce at a much higher price.
For the Millers Association of Zambia President Andrew Chintala, the commodity price by the FRA is a fair price for both farmers and consumers and may lead to a downward trend in the cost of maize by-products such as mealie meal.
But Small Scale Farmers Development Agency Executive Director Boyd Moobwe is unhappy with the price set by the FRA in view of the cost of production that farmers incur and has urged farmers in the country to hold on to their maize until a much higher price is agreed on.
The Food Reserve Agency (FRA) pegged its maize purchasing price for the 2022 Grain Marketing season at K160 per 50kg bag of white maize which translates to a K10 increment from last year’s price for the commodity.
FRA also fixed the price of soya beans at K550 per 50kg bag from K500 last year and K200 per 40kg bag of paddy rice from K195 last year.
FRA is targeting to purchase 170,000 metric tonnes of white maize, 1,500 metric tonnes of soya beans and 1,000 metric tonnes of paddy rice for this year to cushion the already available carryover stock of maize of 1,055,075 metric tonnes.