The Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has managed to buy 2,375 tonnes of maize in Mungwi district despite a number of farmers hoarding their yields due to lower price offered by the agency this farming season.

Mungwi District Farmers’ Association chairperson David Ng’andu has warned farmers selling their maize not to complain if they fail to buy farming inputs for this coming season.

“The decision by some farmers to sell their maize is frustrating the efforts that are underway to push for better prices.

“Farmers selling their maize should not complain if they will not be able to purchase farming inputs this coming farming season due to the low prices,” Mr Ng’andu said in a statement issued by the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU).

Mr Ng’andu urged farmers to be united, resilient and patient as various stakeholders are considering last farming season purchase prices.

In a quest to secure better prices for their produce, farmers in Kasama and Mungwi met last week for a follow-up meeting aimed at ascertaining the quantities of maize in stock as they search for better-priced buyers.

The meeting was attended by 192 co-operatives chairpersons from across the two districts that reported a total of 350 tonnes being held in various co-operatives.

ZNFU adds that moving forward, a buyer has been identified and modalities will soon be put in place to actualise farmers’ resolve for a better maize price.

Meanwhile, ZNFU notes that small-scale farmers in Mkushi are annoyed with this season’s marketing pattern with many saying the price offered by FRA is far below break-even levels.

“Farmers have complained that they sold soya beans at very low prices due to some economic pressures and hoped for some bargain on maize but only for FRA to disappoint them,” ZNFU says.