Crop storage crisis was anticipated-ZNFU

Sun, 05 Mar 2017 10:08:56 +0000




THE looming crisis in the agriculture sector due to poor marketing strategies instigated by individuals has vindicated the  fears Zambia National Framers Union (ZNFU) had on the same says president Jervis Zimba.

Mr Zimba said the crisis was inevitable because there were some individuals who thought they had a better understanding of the sector and ended up misleading people including the President.

Commenting on President Edgar Lungu’s observation that he was saddened by saboteurs in the mealie-meal price saga despite government’s efforts to bring them down, Mr Zimba said it was clear that those advising the president were the ones who wanted government to fail.

He said it was unfortunate that while the union had continued to highlight challenges that faced the sector and offered plausible solutions to avert such challenges, inertia to act had taken centre-stage.

Mr Zimba said that no one should give excuses when Zambia plunged into a crisis since those responsible were refusing to listen.

He said most of the challenges that were facing the sector were instigated by failure to recognise advice and paying too much attention to a few individuals who were out to loot government coffers.  He cited the tripartite maize agreement between the Grain Traders Association of Zambia (GTAZ), Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) and the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) as one decisions arrived at despite the union’s advice against it.

“If government wants to get better advice concerning agriculture, the rightful person to ask is the farmer who produces food and not a miller who is in business,

“ We have made a lot of recommendations to the ministry but the challenge we have is failure to act promptly by those responsible and this is why we are now facing a crisis in maize marketing.

He said there were some people misleading the president because they wanted to make a fortune for themselves, adding that such individuals did not care what would happen tomorrow as long as they made money for themselves.  “Unfortunately, these are the same people who are given attention. Governmnet wanted to reduce the price of mealie meal to K85 per 25 kilogramme bag, has it reduced?” Mr Zimba asked.


He warned that soya beans farmers who were making huge profits for their produce now faced a challenge of market as three major multi-national companies which were buying their commodity at competitive prices were contemplating pulling out of the Zambian market while wheat production was in limbo due to unfavourable decisions that were implemented without consultations.  “Right now soya beans farmers are faced with a challenge due to the continued importation of cooking oil as three multi-national companies which provided ready-market for them are contemplating pulling out of our market.

“Growing of wheat is also in limbo due to uncertainties in the sector. What is destroying agriculture in Zambian is policy inconsistency yet we have continued to offer recommendations to the ministry but no one give us a benefit of doubt but would rather listen to those aiming to paralyse the sector as long as they are benefiting,” he said.


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