Farmers have been urged to utilise fair market price opportunities offered through the Zambia Agriculture Commodity Exchange (ZAMACE).

President Edgar Lungu recently announced that government will no longer dictate market price for cereals.

Cheyo Mwenechanya, Senior Agri-Business Manager at First National Bank of Zambia (FNB) said ZAMACE can help address perennial market imperfections that besiege Zambia’s agriculture sector.

Mwenechanya said the defects limit the potential of small-scale farmers who predominantly produce maize stocks.

“With the agriculture sector high on government’s agenda as a potential engine for economic diversification, it is important that aspects of the sector such as commodity prices and stocks are managed to the benefit of farmers,” Mwenechanya he said.

He said the introduction of the warehouse receipting system (WRS) at ZAMACE has created a platform for farmers to deposit maize (post-harvest) in secure warehouses in any part of the country.

“If a farmer feels the market price for maize is too low at the time of harvest, he would rather not sell the produce at that moment but can take their warehouse receipt to a participating bank and offer it as collateral,” said Mwenechanya .

He said WRS empowers the farmers to retain ownership of their produce and only sell it if market conditions improve.

Mwenechanya said the participation of FNB Zambia on the ZAMACE has allowed for a secure and efficient payment system through the bank’s digital banking platform.

The platform has facilitated the payment processes and improved grain trading on the commodity exchange.