Government says it has embarked on connecting farmers to upstream domestic and international markets. Chavuma district commissioner, Geoffrey Kasonda says it is for this reason why borders are still open for agricultural trade.
Mr Kasonda adds that the new dawn government desires to improve the lives of farmers and the agriculture sector in general and the roadmap on how to do this is already in place and in motion.
The District Commissioner said this when officiating at the 2022 Food Reserve Agency training workshop for staff in readiness for crop marketing season yesterday.
Government is firmly aware that farmers have been constrained by limited access to markets , he said, because of poor infrastructure such as road networks in rural areas, inadequate availability and supply of agricultural information and insufficient access to financing.
“I wish to assure farmers that , government takes their concerns seriously and this is why we have reverted to the 1,200 depots countrywide from the 600 depots earlier announced.
“The purchase price has also increased from last year’s K150 per 50 Kilogramme bag to K180 per 50 Kilogramme bag, this therefore, means Chavuma will operate all the 5 depots with a purchase target of 136 metric tonnes translating to 2,720 by 50 Kilogramme bags,” he said.
Mr Kasonda said this was done after government heard that farmers were complaining that if the depots were maintained at 600 countrywide, they would incur huge transportation costs.
“We believe that with these depots, the Agency will be able to meet farmers closer to their homesteads and ease their movements of grain and make a good profit out of it,” he said.
Mr. Kasonda advised the trainees that government has spent a lot of money in fostering these programmes and therefore, they should take personal responsibility for the national assets.
He further urged them to show patriotism in ensuring that they execute their duties diligently in their respective depots.
Meanwhile, Mr. Kasonda emphasized that Covid-19 pandemic is still in the communities, therefore all players should adhere to the health guidelines put in place by the government during the training and during the crop purchase exercise in all depots.