Most Food Reserve Agency (FRA) depots in Chipangali district in Eastern province, are filled up with Soya beans as most farmers have opted to sell their maize to briefcase buyers instead of the Agency.
A check revealed that farmers were mostly delivering Soya beans for sale at FRA depots while most of the maize was being sold to private buyers.
At Chitandika Depot, almost all the bags delivered were for Soya beans with only a few bags of maize delivered.
One of the farmers, Yamikani Phiri, attributed the lack of maize at the depot to the late acquisition of inputs by farmers during the previous farming season.
Mr Phiri said a lot of farmers did not receive full packs of fertilizer which, as a result, affected their maize yields.
He noted that the delay to receive agricultural inputs by farmers also contributed to poor maize harvest, which is now shown in the low delivery of maize by farmers to FRA depots in the district.
“Most farmers are only delivering Soya beans to FRA for sale because they either did not receive full packs of inputs or they did not receive the inputs on time. People in the villages do not have enough maize to sell to FRA because of what happened during the acquisition of inputs,” Mr Phiri said.
He noted that farmers have also opted to sell their maize to briefcase buyers who were offering K3 per kilogram which is equivalent to K150. per 50 kilogram bag of maize.
And at Mgubudu depot, the situation is the same with mostly soya beans being sold.
Sources at the Depot said most of the maize which was there was delivered by the Roman Catholic Church.
At Mgubudu trading center, farmers were seen selling their maize to private buyers and when asked, they said they would want to sell to private buyers because they would get their money immediately after they sold their crop.
Government has this year pegged the price of buying a 50-kilogram bag of white maize at K180 while Soya beans is being bought at K11 per kilogram translating into K550 per 50-kilogram bag of Soya beans.