Muchinga Province Minister Henry Sikazwe says the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) is on course towards achieving the target of buying about 65,000 metric tonnes of maize from farmers in the province.
Mr Sikazwe stated that the rate at which farmers are selling their maize to FRA in the province has been impressive as evidenced from the many satellite depots visited so far.
Speaking when he checked on the Chozi and Mwenzo Satellite Depots in Nakonde district, Mr Sikazwe stated that farmers should continue selling their maize to FRA to help the country remain food secure in case of any disaster.
He said FRA should ensure that it also continues paying the farmers on time in a bid to motivate them towards increasing their productivity.
“I am impressed with the level we are moving at here in Nakonde and the province at large with regard to the number of maize bags that are being bought from our farmers,” he stated.
However, the Provincial Minister expressed concern over reports of some farmers allegedly selling maize to neighbouring Tanzania, stressing that the illegal selling of maize outside the country should be discouraged at all costs.
He said FRA in collaboration with security wings should quickly intervene in any activities of smuggling maize into Tanzania.
“The news we got three weeks ago was that some people from Tanzania are buying maize. Let us sensitise our farmers to sell their maize to FRA because we are keeping food for them that they will need when circumstances arise,” said Mr Sikazwe.
And Muchinga FRA Standards and Quality Officer Robinson Nyambe, said the response to sell maize to the agency has so far been remarkable from the local farmers.
Mr Nyambe stated that there has been no cases of farmers selling maize outside the country recently, adding that security wings and FRA have been on the ground to closely monitor the farmers.
He further disclosed that farmers who sold their maize to FRA since the agency started buying the commodity in Nakonde district are already getting paid for their grain.
Mr Nyambe disclosed that the treasury last week released K50 million, which is sitting in the bank, for maize marketing in Nakonde FRA about K100, 000 has already been paid to the farmers so far.
“Our target is that by Monday next week, all the farmers that sold their produce here will be paid,” he added.
Recently, there have been reports of some farmers from the Nakonde Border town, allegedly selling their maize to Tanzania.
FRA has targeted to buy 2.6 million x 50 kg bags of white maize from farmers in Muchinga Province during the marketing season.