Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Highvie Hamududu Urges Cost-Reflective Maize Price for Zambian Farmers

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Opposition Party of National Unity and Progress (PNUP) President Highvie Hamududu has said he hopes the announced maize price for the 2023 crop marketing season is cost reflective for majority farmers in the country.

The Food Reserve Agency (FRA) on Wednesday announced that it will be buying a 50 kilogramme bag of maize at K280.

This year’s maize price is an increase above last year’s 180 Kwacha per 50 kilogramme bag of maize.

FRA Board Chairperson Kelvin Hambwezya announced that the agency’s 2023 maize price at a media briefing today in Lusaka saying the decision was arrived at considering the maize prices pertaining in the region.

Commenting on the new crop prices, Mr. Hamududu said farmers need cost reflective prices to increase production.

He further advocated that FRA starts announcing crop prices before the farming season so that farmers make informed decisions on production beforehand.

Mr. Humududu said the trend of announcing selected crop prices by government through its agency, the Food Reserve Agency (FRA)after the farming season is not right and must be changed.

The economist and former Bweengwa Member of Parliament said profitable agriculture is the fastest way to create jobs and fight poverty.

“Announce indicative crop prices before farming season and reform overall agriculture policy.The tradition of announcing selected crop prices by government through its agency, the Food Reserve Agency, FRA, after the farming season is not right and must be changed, as it is an ambush on the farmers since farmers will have already produced. There is need for FRA to announce indicative crop prices of their interest before the farming season so that farmers make informed decisions on production beforehand.Prices are the biggest incentive for any production including farming. Farmers need cost reflective prices to increase production and as long as we suppress producer prices in agriculture, we must forget increasing production as farming is not charity but business,” Mr. Hamududu said.

“Policy makers in government must also understand that profitable agriculture is the fastest way to create jobs and fight poverty and income inequalities; and easily earn foreign exchange through exports, since over 70 percent of our citizens are involved in this sector. Agriculture has the lowest hanging fruits to improve the welfare our of people and grow the economy and must, therefore, be given evidence-based policy interventions and facilitation by government.We hope the announced Maize of K280 per 50kg bag is cost reflective for the majority of our farmers,” he said.

Meanwhile, FRA Board Chairperson Kelvin Hambwezya said the new crop prices are a reflective of the cost of production.

“The agency has endeavored among other
things to analyse the cost of production for the designated.Crops indicated above and therefore, prices to be announced today are reflective of the cost of production and specific to what the agency will be offering. Please note that other players in the sector are urged to buy these crops as the prices to be announced are not floor prices but rather FRA prices under the principle of willing seller and willing buyer.In setting these crop prices, the agency expects accrued benefits to farmers in that: -(I) farmers will be provided with a readily available market access closer to their localities through the 1,200 satellite depots to be established countrywide; (ii) farmers will get a reward for their labour which will entail more money in their pockets; (iii) there will be stimulation and growth of rural economies for farmers as well as local service this stimulus will enable farmers to adequately prepare for the upcoming agricultural season and
Further be motivated to increase crop production for the country’s food security taking into consideration the increased national population.You will note that related to the economic stimulus and growth of rural economies, last year, in 2022 the agency bought designated crops worth k2.2 billion of which about 72 % was paid to farmers in outlying areas.I further wish to state that in arriving at the determined prices for 2023, the agency acknowledged the urgent need to
Replenish the strategic grain reserves from a dynamic grain market obtaining locally and in the region.It is anticipated that the agency prices shall not disadavantage the private sector who are expected to purchase a larger share of the agricultural produce. As you ay know, the fra purchase share has averaged 20% of maize,” Mr. Hambwezya said.

7 COMMENTS

  1. It is a good price and farmers who grew maize will win, well done ba FRA but we hope the commercial farmers will not hijack this and supply all the maize earmarked for purchase leaving the small scale farmers to supply to crooked millers and brief case buyers. Also alot of farmers grew soya beans and what is to happen to them? We need to be fair in these things, farmers are the back bone of the nation only recently we saw how the nation had problems due to a shortage of maize if these farmers fail to sale their soya beans where are they going to get money to buy inputs for maize farming this coming year, this notion of only considering commercial farmers over small scale farmers must stop.

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    • Have you done the calculation to conclude that this a fair price? Please back up your conclusion with figures.

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  2. The flip side of this maize floor price, will push the mealie-meal prices high and unaffordable for most households. The govt must brace itself for more discontentment among the citizens.
    What a big jump from K180 to K280/50kg bag of maize. The price of fertilizer and seeds have pushed the floor price higher, though a bigger price is yet to be paid.
    If anyone wants to circumvent the high mealie-meal price, this is the best time to buy maize for your home consumption. NIPANO TULI!!

  3. A solution should have been found a long time ago to the issue of mealie meal and its products. But political survival has made the situation to continue worsening.

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  4. @ Deva Ju under PF in 2017 FRA bought maize at K60 or $6 (exchange rate was K10 in 2017) a 50 kg bag, even when adjusted for today’s inflation that figure was a complete mockery to farmers, the govt of today is buying at K280 $15 ( at an exchange rate today of K18.5) which is the best price that maize has ever been sold at in this country and one of the best prices you will find it at it in the region. I’ve done my calculations to break even you would have to sale at K4 per kg anything above is profit. If you are breaking even at more than K4 per kg (K200/kg) you are a bad farmer.

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    • Iwe forget the past instead look at how you can improve. Just because in the past our ancestors used to wear impapa, we should be happy with vigamba.

  5. People are amzing. They will always find something to complain about. Learn that we win some and loss some in this life. Just move on and find other solutions.

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