The Zambia Alliance of Women has advised small-scale farmers to guard against exploitative private maize buyers.

Executive director Edah Chimya said they should guard by not selling their maize before the official announcement of the 2019/2020 marketing season

She said ZAW had received reports that farmers in Chipata and Choma districts were selling maize to private buyers.

She called on farmers’ association, cooperatives and the Ministry of Agriculture to protect women farmers amidst the COVID-19 outbreak as private buyers have taken advantage of the fact that all efforts are drawn to dealing with the pandemic at hand that they are now exploiting farmers especially women by buying maize at the cheapest prices.

“Zambia Alliance of Women wishes to advise small-scale farmers especially women farmers not sell their maize to private buyers before the official announcement of the 2019/2020 marketing season,” she said.

“Farmer exploitation by private buyers was among the issues that Zambia Alliance of Women with support from Hivos Southern Africa embarked on a project ‘Addressing Women Issues in Sustainable Production and Consumption’ where the organisation worked in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture in Chilanga and Kafue districts to advocate for government to address challenges faced by Women farmers in ensuring Sustainable diets for all,” she added.

Chimya said farmers in cooperatives and clubs were being trained in climate-smart agriculture; the key being conservation farming and crop diversification.

She said majority rural farmers were being provided with a platform to understand major issues surrounding farming among them being the maize marketing season, farming as a business, gender in cooperatives and conservation farming.

Chimya said ZAW was also working on similar interventions with farmers in Mumbwa and Shibuyunji under a project “Increased Productivity and Resilience through Climate Smart Agriculture funded by SIDA through the NGOCC basket fund”.

Chimya appealed to agriculture extension officers to provide farmers in rural areas with information on 2019/2020 maize marketing season so that farmers stopped selling maize at the cheapest prices to private buyers.