The Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has officially announced the floor prices for white maize and paddy rice for the 2023 crop marketing season. According to the agency, the price of paddy rice has been set at K200 per 50kg, while white maize will be sold at K280 per 50kg. The per kilogram prices for the commodities have been set at K5.60 for paddy rice and K5 for white maize.
The announcement was made by Kelvin Hambwezya, the Chairperson of the FRA Board, during a press briefing held today. Hambwezya explained that the prices were determined after conducting a survey of prevailing farm gate and market prices, taking into account indicative gross margin budgets. The FRA also assured farmers that they would be provided with accessible market access options closer to their localities.
Hambwezya emphasized the importance of maize buyers adhering to the prices set by the agency. He urged them to purchase both white maize and paddy rice at the announced prices, ensuring fair compensation for the farmers.
To facilitate easy market access for small-scale farmers, the FRA plans to establish 1,200 satellite depots. This initiative aims to support farmers by bringing the market closer to them and reducing transportation costs.
During the briefing, Hambwezya disclosed that the FRA currently holds a carryover stock of 652,000 metric tonnes of grade white maize. Out of this stock, over 400,000 metric tonnes have already been sold to local millers, while 248,772.35 metric tonnes remain in the strategic food reserves.
The FRA’s decision to set maize and paddy rice prices aligns with the FRA Act No. 6 of 2020, which mandates the agency to establish and regulate floor prices for strategic crops in Zambia.
Farmers and stakeholders in the agriculture sector will closely monitor the market response to the announced prices, as they play a crucial role in determining the profitability and sustainability of agricultural production in the country.