Opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema has given President Edgar Lungu a 15-day ultimatum to increase the price of maize.

Hichilema has challenged Lungu to hike the marketing season price from K60 per 50 kilogramme bag, set by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA).

“I feel for the farmers! Look at how much this guy wants to buy the maize! Really, is that economically viable?” Hichilema said.

Hichilema said the farmers are hurting socially, economically and politically and Lungu should know that.

“That is why I am giving him 15 days in which to increase the price of maize from K60 to not less than K75. If this is not done, we will mobilize farmers to do a peaceful protest against them.”

Farmers across the country have complained about this year’s maize price, a K25 reduction from last season’s offer of K85 per 50 kilogramme bag.

Hichilema said small scale farmers had produced their maize at a huge cost considering the high prices of inputs, citing that it was unfair for the government, through FRA, to purchase the crop for ‘peanuts’.

“Farmers encountered a lot of difficulties when producing that maize and other agricultural produce and to come and offer a K60 per 50 kg of their hard- earned produce is an insult. It shows that these friends of ours in the PF do not care about the majority of our people who are dependent on agriculture for survival.”

Meanwhile Zambia National Farmers Union has accused FRA of swindling farmers and advised that no one should sell their produce to the agency.