Mkushi based Anglican Church Priest Fr. John Emmanuel Kapambwe has cautioned small scale farmers against selling their maize to briefcase buyers at low prices.
Some farmers have started harvesting maize while others are preparing to commence harvest as they wait for moisture content to decline in order to sale their crop to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA).
Speaking in his personal capacity as a concerned citizen, Fr. Kapambwe said it is sad to see that some farmers in Mkushi have already started selling their crops to briefcase buyers at as low as K20 per 5KG.
He said farmers should keep maize for domestic consumption while selling the surplus.
Fr. Kapambwe predicted that the 2023 harvest may not be the best owing to late delivery of farming inputs hence the need for farmers to prioritize domestic food security.
He warned farmers that Zambia may experience serious hunger due to poor harvest compounded by late distribution of farming inputs prior to the 2022/2023 farming season.
“Despite the challenges of the last farming season we glorify God for whatever we are about to harvest. The harvest is at hand and others have already started. In the same way the briefcase buyers are also at hand ready to take away your harvest.As a resident of Mkushi I had privilege to pass through Itala Compound. It was sad to see that people have already started selling their crops to briefcase buyers as low as K 20.00 meda of Maize.I want to urge all domestic farmers countrywide not to entertain the briefcase buyers to take away their harvest. Instead consider home consuption as a priority. We are all aware that, some farmers experienced late distribution of fertilizer which affected the farming season negativity while others did not even have an opportunity to get fertilizer,” Fr. Kapambwe said.
He reminded farmers that they have a
mandate to supplement Government efforts in ensuring food security in the country.
“From this challenge we can tell that we may experience serious hunger. Therefore, it is important to safeguard the little we have. In addition, entertaining briefcase buyers has been one of the major causes of hunger and poverty in our nation. Let us exercise patience and sell at the right time.Remember that we have a mandate to supplement Government efforts in ensuring food security. But entertaining briefcase buyers may result into counterproductive which may frustrate government strategy to reserve food. It is important to realise that our wellbeing is important let us not misuse what we Harvest,” Fr. Kapambwe said.
He further urged the government to ensure that the Food Reserve Agency begins buying maize quickly.
“I also urge the Government to ensure that, the markets are opened on time. In addition, the deports to be increased so that people in very remote areas are able to access the the markets without much difficulties. This will help to prevent briefcase buyers from taking advantage of the poor farmers,” he said.