Sunday, June 23, 2024

Government’s Purchase of 250,000 Metric Tonnes of Maize is “a Joke,” Says Green Party President

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In response to the government’s announcement that it will only purchase 250,000 metric tonnes of maize, Green Party President Peter Sinkamba has called for urgent action on food security. He criticized the government’s approach, stating that “250,000 metric tonnes is a joke” and that the government needs to take food security seriously.

Sinkamba also expressed concern about the poor roll-out of the Fertilizer Input Support Program (FISP), which he believes will negatively impact maize production. He stated that “if the government does not address the issues facing small-scale farmers, we will continue to have low yields and food insecurity.”

The Green Party President also criticized the government’s reliance on the private sector to purchase the remaining 2 million metric tonnes of maize. He argued that the private sector cannot be relied upon to ensure food security for the country. “The private sector is profit-driven and will not prioritize food security,” he stated.

Sinkamba also called for the government to invest in storage facilities and infrastructure to ensure that the country can store enough maize to meet its domestic and industrial needs. “We need to invest in our storage facilities to ensure that we have enough maize to last us through the lean months,” he said.

The Green Party President emphasized the need for a long-term approach to food security in Zambia. He argued that the government needs to invest in research and development to improve agricultural productivity and ensure that farmers have access to the necessary inputs and infrastructure to grow their crops.

“We need to invest in agriculture if we want to ensure food security for the country,” Sinkamba stated. “We need to invest in research and development, provide farmers with the necessary inputs, and improve our storage and infrastructure to ensure that we have enough maize to feed our people.”

Sinkamba called on the government to take food security seriously and to invest in the necessary infrastructure and programs to ensure that the country has enough maize to meet its domestic and industrial needs. “We cannot afford to take food security for granted,” he stated. “We need to act now to ensure that we have enough maize to feed our people and ensure the prosperity of our country.”

Meanwhile, President Hakainde Hichilema reaffirmed the importance of agriculture to Zambia’s economy and pledged continued government support for the sector. Speaking at the 2023 AgriTech Expo in Chisamba District, President Hichilema emphasized that agriculture is a business and must be profitable.

To achieve this goal, the government is implementing sweeping reforms such as the Comprehensive Agriculture Support Programme (CASP) to boost productivity and encourage investment in the sector. The president highlighted that the AgriTech Expo presents an opportunity to showcase the latest technologies and innovations that can help small-scale farmers increase productivity.

“We believe that this expo is an important platform for the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and expertise among farmers ranging from small to large-scale farmers,” President Hichilema said. “It is an opportunity for our farmers to be exposed to the latest technologies and innovation in the agriculture sector that are suitable for small-scale farmers for increased productivity.”

President Hichilema also assured farmers and stakeholders of continued government support for such expos as part of efforts to make Zambia the breadbasket of Africa and the world. “We will continue to support such initiatives as we move towards our goal of making Zambia the breadbasket for Africa and the world at large,” he said.

The AgriTech Expo, which brings together farmers, policymakers, and stakeholders in the agriculture sector, provides a platform for sharing ideas and knowledge on best practices, new technologies, and innovations in agriculture. With a focus on small-scale farmers, the expo aims to promote sustainable agriculture and increase productivity to meet the country’s food security needs.

President Hichilema’s remarks come at a time when Zambia is grappling with food security challenges, with a projected deficit of 500,000 metric tonnes of maize to meet national consumption levels. His commitment to supporting the sector and promoting new technologies and innovations could be a step towards addressing these challenges and securing the country’s food supply.

7 COMMENTS

  1. The FRA have clearly stated it is a minimum quantity meaning they will more than likely purchase over 250,000 tons.

    Guys let’s not be too quick to criticize. We criticize where there is a genuine error but on this I don’t see any problem and the govt have done a great job to make this timely announcement.

    However we need FRA to announce prices and Soya bean farmers need a good price seeing most farmer grew soya last season, these buyers of soya ( oil processors and feed producers) are trying to exploit the farmers with very low prices.

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    • The same way government courageously fixes floor (bottom) maize prices, it must go with same impetus to set capping (ceiling) price for mealie meal. Likewise, farmers won’t feel betrayed as same barometer applies to all.
      When GRZ pleads to millers to reduce prices, it unilaterally announces FRA maize buying price. Very callous attitude.

  2. Agriculture is a business, but government can never compete with private firms. Government has no profit ambitions.
    FRA occasionally offloads maize to millers who after grinding set their own mealie meal prices. GRZ doesn’t cap or control prices, neither does it have mills. Everything must be overhauled, from maize farming to m/meal logistics. So how do we force grz to buy two million tonnes of maize when it is millers benefiting from government grain?

  3. “We need to invest in agriculture if we want to ensure food security for the country,” Sinkamba stated. “We need to invest in research and development, provide farmers with the necessary inputs, and improve our storage and infrastructure to ensure that we have enough maize to feed our people.”

    This is the only important issue Peter has raised that I have picked up….our grain storage techniques at FRA are outdated and have not changed for 50 years.

  4. These one man briefcase parties have nothing to offer . Their empthy criticism is just aimed at remaining relevant.

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  5. It’s not a joke, 5 million bags by 50kg thats a lot for an organisation who’s mandate is to mitigate and not to run the milling business. Let the private sector be competitive. What the government should do is hammer the private pricing cartels of the millers and retailers, with Criminal offences of colluding pricing! Then push for winter maize farming. In no time we will have too much maize, then open the export door.

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