Traditional leaders have appealed to president Lungu to safeguard the agriculture sector and protect farmers from impoverishment.

The chiefs implored President Lungu to intervene and reconsider the recently announced Food Reserve Agency (FRA) crop marketing maize floor price set at K60 for a 50-kilogramme bag of white maize.

Chief Sinazongwe of the Tonga people in Southern Province told the Daily Nation that the maize price was not favourable and had intimidated some farmers from engaging into maize farming activities.

The traditional leader said agriculture had become the backbone of the country’s economic growth, noting that it was not fair to set such a low price which had discouraged a lot of farmers to sell their farmers to FRA.

Chief Sinazongwe said the 2016/2017 farming season had various challenges that had already disadvantaged the farming sector, adding that the government should listen to the cries of people over maize if the shift to agriculture sector was to yield desired results.

He appealed to the government to think about the concerns of the farmers, saying should their cries be ignored, less production was expected next year because there would be low cultivation of the product.

And Chief Chiengele of Limulunga in Western Province was of the opinion that the farming inputs that included fertilisers should be made affordable to farmers to be fair with the set maize floor.

The Limulunga Chief explained that there was need for a mechanism of making the farming inputs cheaper, through engaging various stakeholders such as the economists, graduates, experts and many more.

“If the fertiliser is affordable to peasant farmers then it will be easy and become fair for farmers in case of any decision made by the relevant authority on the prices sets for the products,” he said.