Tuesday, June 25, 2024

ZNFU Welcomes Zambia’s Maize Pricing, Calls for Reconsideration of Soybean Strategy

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The Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) has expressed its satisfaction with the recently announced maize prices set by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) at ZMK280 per 50kg bag. ZNFU sees this as a positive step towards implementing cost reflective pricing for maize in the country. The new pricing structure is expected to incentivize farmers to return to maize production, thereby ensuring national food security and facilitating exports. The Union believes that the introduction of favorable pricing will attract more farmers to engage in maize cultivation.

In a press release, ZNFU applauded the government’s efforts in establishing this pricing scheme, emphasizing the importance of price as a determining factor for farmers when choosing which crops to produce. Over the years, a significant number of farmers have abandoned maize production due to the lack of price incentives, making it impossible to recoup their investments. The Union acknowledges the government’s role in providing the right signals and expresses optimism about the future of maize production if cost reflective prices are maintained.

While pleased with the maize pricing development, ZNFU expressed disappointment over the exclusion of soybeans from the FRA strategic reserves this marketing season. ZNFU highlighted the significant crop diversification and promising soybean harvest in remote areas, urging the government to allow regulated soybean exports immediately. The Union emphasized the importance of sustaining all participants in the soybean value chain and avoiding any disadvantages for farmers. ZNFU pointed out that abandoning soybean farmers during the crop marketing process, after encouraging them to adopt soybeans as an alternative crop, would be counterproductive. Additionally, soybeans are beneficial for soil health through crop rotation practices, further underscoring the need to reconsider this decision. ZNFU called for a consultative meeting with the government to find pragmatic solutions and ensure the sustainability of the soybean value chain.

ZNFU also highlighted the potential for exporting soybeans, considering the sizeable soybean crop in South Africa, which is likely to impact regional demand for value-added soybean products. Exploring the export of soybeans, especially Zambia’s non-GMO variety, could provide an advantage in niche markets that traditionally pay premiums for non-GMO commodities.

The Union urged the government to make timely decisions on exports and send clear policy signals to market participants, considering the relatively short crop marketing window. ZNFU emphasized the importance of taking into account historical dynamics and current market conditions to ensure effective decision-making.

In conclusion, ZNFU expressed confidence that the positive signal set by the FRA’s maize pricing would be sustained, reversing the declining trend in maize production observed over the past three years. The Union remains encouraged and optimistic about realizing Zambia’s potential to become the region’s breadbasket.

Jervis Zimba, President of ZNFU, conveyed these sentiments and called for collaboration between the government and the Union to achieve these goals. The ZNFU’s press release sets the stage for further discussions and actions to support the agricultural sector in Zambia, ensuring food security, economic growth, and the prosperity of farmers and related stakeholders.

2 COMMENTS

  1. This is one of the few occasions I would have to agree with Jervis Zimba. He is correct on all the areas he has discussed. The maize price is very, very fair, however as he has highlighted there is need to think of soya farmers who have greatly been disadvantaged with this FRA decision. Let the govt make a plan on how farmers will sell their produce at a fair price to genuine buyer be they local or international markets.

  2. Yes farmers are happy with the new price of maize but consumers must also be ready to pay equally high price of mealie meal because input equals output.

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