By PETER SICHALI
DESPERATE farmers in Muchinga Province are selling their maize at cheap prices to foreign briefcase buyers, the Daily Nation has learnt.
The farmers are selling their maize as low as K65 per 50 kilogram instead of K120 which was set for last year’s marketing season to Food Reserve Agency (FRA) .
According to Isoka District Co-operative Union (IDCU) manager Benard Sichilongo the farmers are forced to take a nose dive because the Government through FRA has delayed to start purchasing the produce from them and unscrupulous buyers were taking advantage of them.
He told the Daily Nation in an interview that the invasion of foreign buyers was a danger to food security at both household and national level.
Mr Sichilongo appealed to government to announce the maize floor price before farmers sell all their maize to foreign briefcase buyers.
“We appeal to Government to quickly announce the maize floor price so that farmers can stop selling maize to foreign briefcase buyers,” Mr Sichilongo said.
He said further delays by Government to announce the floor price would result in farmers selling their produce to foreign briefcase buyers that have invaded the area.
Mr Sichilongo said announcing the floor will motivate farmers not to sell their maize to unscrupulous buyers who are buying maize at give away prices.
He also disclosed that some farmers had already started selling maize even before harvest.
“Unscrupulous buyers have already invaded various districts in the province to buy maize from farmers even before harvest,” Mr Sichilongo said.