BY NOEL IYOMBWA
THE Food Reserve Agency has nearly met its target of purchasing 500,000metric tons of grade A white maize.
As at Thursday August 19, 2021, the Food Reserve Agency purchased a total of 477,500.75 metric tons of grade A white maize against the 500,000 metric tons targeted.
FRA public Relations coordinator John Chipandwe announced that the maize was bought from small scale farmers in rural areas for the farming season that was officially opened on June 17, 2021.
He said that the 477,500.75 metric tons is equivalent to a total of 9.550,015 by 50 kilograms bags of maize representing an achievement percentage rate of 95.5 per cent which the agency is targeting in this crop marketing exercise.
Mr Chipandwe is optimistic that given the latest purchase of 477.500.75 metric tons, the agency is on target and will continue buying crops for Zambia’s natural strategic food reserves up to the close of the season by October 31, 2021.
He said that the total cost of the white maize purchased so far is valued at K 1,432,502,250.00 out of which K 1,211,521,500 representing 85 percent, has been funded to pay farmers.
Meanwhile Small Scale Farmer’s Development Agency –SAFADA director Boyd Moobwe has commended the agency for the achievement.
Mr Moobwe said that the speed at which the agency has purchased the cash crop is encouraging.
Mr Moobwe further called on the incoming government to introduce reforms that would allow the agriculture sector to operate as a business entity and become self-sustained to reduce sector dependence on national budget allocation to finance rural enterprise.
He said that the president elect Mr Hichilema (HH) and his government should take up necessary steps to reform the agriculture sector to enable the sector to mitigate the economic and social challenges the country is facing.
Mr Moobwe observed that the agriculture sector in Zambia has not performed to the people’s expectations during the previous government because it was highly politicized.