Stakeholders in the agriculture sector have called on the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to revisit the K60 maize price.
Concerns are that the price will discourage farmers from growing the crop in the coming farming season citing that the K60 price per bag has set a bad tone for this years’ marketing season.
FRA’s target is to buy 500,000 tonnes of maize, 2,100 tonnes of paddy rice and 20,000 tonnes of soya beans this season.
Jervis Zimba, Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) President said theprice is an act of introducing poverty in the agriculture sector.
Zimba said the notice has now led to most buyers, buying the crop at as low as K35 and K40 for a 50kg bag of maize due to the trend that FRA has set.
He said FRA’s price has potential to jeopardise the country’s food security in the coming season.
Zimba has called on President Edgar Lungu to intervene, so that farmers do not make a loss.
“We will go and appeal to our father (President Lungu) to say that the pricing is not good for the farmers,” Zimba said.
Sharing his sentiments, Calvin Kaleyi, ZNFU Media and Public Relations Manager said the price announcement has demoralised farmers, after working hard to attain the maize bumper harvest of 3.6 million metric tonnes.
“It is obvious that this price will not benefit the farmer in any way. Farmers have been on the bad receiving end of the value chain all the time as opposed to consumers.”
Kaleyi said the price is way below full cost recovery price and a morale dampener for farmers,
Meanwhile, the Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ) advised Government to create an agricultural price stabilisation fund to cushion fluctuation in the sector.