Mon, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000
By Simon Muntemba
THE maize price in some areas has dropped to K35 per 50 kilogram bag forcing some opposition parties to urge government to join the planned indaba between Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) and Food Reserve Agency (FRA) in an effort to sort out the low maize price.
ZNFU president Jervis Zimba recently called for a high level indaba with FRA and other stake holders, to discuss and probably sort out the lowered of the floor price of maize.
Rainbow Party Copperbelt youth vice-secretary, David Chishimba said that his party supported the call for an indaba because the lowered price of maize would negatively affect the next farming season as farmers will be discouraged and demoralised.
He argued that the announced price of K60 was a huge blow to farmers as it was putting them at a great disadvantage due to the fact that in the last farming season farms were ravaged by army worms and other pests which made the cost of farming go up.
Mr. Chishimba said the lowering of the floor price of maize has also caused briefcase buyers to start buying at as low as k35 per 50kg bag.
“To this effect I welcome and commend the diplomatic call by Zambia National Farmers Union president Jervis Zimba to have a high level indaba with FRA and other stake holders,” he said.
He said that the loss would also make farmers who would want to continue with Maize farming not to do so because they will not have enough capital.
Mr. Chishimba noted with sadness that just after the announcement of the floor pricing of maize, a bag of maize which was trading at K150 in some neighbouring countries is now trading between K85 and k120.
“We are likely to see a further reduction in the price by briefcase buyers later this year as they know that the surplus of 3.2 million tonnes of the maize is too much and they know that the majority of small scale farmers do not have the logistics capability to export their maize.
“The ripple effect is that since the cost of production of a 50kg bag of maize is k75, farmers are going to lose the 13% profit they targeted to make had the price remained at K85 and are further going to make a loss of K15 per bag which is 20% of the capital,” he said.
He however Rainbow Party recognizes peasant agriculture and agriculture as a priority sector of its socialist economic program among Education and Health.