Luapula Province Minister Derricky Chilundika has warned of stern action against foreigners who are coming to the Province to buy Maize fields before harvesting from farmers in the province.
Mr Chilundika revealed that Kawambwa District among others has so far recorded reports of an influx of foreign nationals coming in the district to buy maize fields the situation he said will not be tolerated.
province which has seen an influx of foreigners nationals who have camped in the district with the aim of buying off maize fields from farmers.
In an interview with ZANIS in Mansa, the provincial Minister indicated that the conduct by foreign nationals to camp and buy maize before harvest has the potential to cause hunger in the province as most of the farmers are selling all their maize.
” As a government we are not against the idea of people selling their crops but rather we do not want a situation where farmers sell their entire maize fields as this can bring hunger in the country,” he said.
The Provincial Minister disclosed that Kawambwa district is one of the districts which records high production of maize hence the move by some farmers to start selling their crops even before they harvest can affect the overall production in the district.
He added that most of the farmers who are selling their maize fields are beneficiaries of the Farmer Input Support Program and that the farmers are not being fair to the government who gives them inputs at a low price with the intention of them having enough food for their households.
” If farmers want to sell some of their maize, they should wait until they harvest their crops as opposed to them selling their entire fields even before harvesting, we need to encourage doing the right thing and selling maize before you even harvest is not right,”he noted.
The Minister said farmers can also decide to sell their maize to the food reserve agency so that the country can have enough food stocks in case of any shortages.
Mr. Chilundika has since cautioned farmers in Luapula Province against selling their maize fields to business men and women who are coming from outside the country.
Meanwhile the Minister has disclosed that the Province has enough Mealie Meal on the market and that there is no need for anyone to panic.
He explained that the prices of mealie meal will even reduce further as farmers will soon start harvesting their crops which will mean that maize will be readily available on the market.
” Most of the time during the rainy season we usually experience an increase in the prices of mealie – meal but once the rainy season ends things normalize,” he observed.
Mr. Chiliundika has urged people not to sell off all their maize but rather leave some for home consumption so as to prevent hunger at household level.