Maize floor price liberalisation welcome, agric expert

Mon, 26 Dec 2016 10:22:34 +0000



 LIBERALISATION of the maize floor price is a step in the right direction that will stimulate competition and help farmers get value for their produce, says Zambia Agriculture and Rural Development Initiative executive director Gilbert Mpanga.

Mr Mpanga said the idea was good and progressive on grounds that maize production was in the hands of farmers who knew the costs better.

He said an opened up crop marketing environment would contribute towards stabilizing the price of mealie-meal and keeping it affordable.

Mr Mpanga said the announcement was a sign that the government had budgeted for it and had a target.

He said what was needed was to give a clear guidance on how it would be done so that it could work to the advantage of farmers.

“The move will allow farmers to benefit from their product as it will give competition to all the players and at the same time get rid of unnecessarily increase in the price of mealie-meal by some greedy stakeholders despite the fact that they buy maize at subsidized rates,” he said.

Mr Mpanga said farmers had in time memorial preferred selling their products to private buyers who were offering fair prices, as they believed the Food Reserve Agency, responsible for national maize purchasing, set pricing for maize that did not reflect the cost of production.

“This is a positive response to the cries of the farmers who had been calling for better prices of their products,” he said.

President Edgar Lungu announced, on Thursday, that the government was to liberalize the price of maize, at the start of the next marketing season, to boost the staple crop’s output.


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