Friday 18th August 2017

ZNFU fears farmers will stop growing maize

The Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has written to the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) indicating that it will maintain the K60 per 50 Kg bag of white maize price in this year’s maize marketing season.

And the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) has expressed shock at the development and has escalated this matter to the Minister of Agriculture because of the alleged inconsistencies at play.

ZNFU president Jarvis Zimba in a statement yesterday said the union was shocked with the turn of events on how the farmers’ cry has been given a deaf ear.

“The Zambia National Farmers Union(ZNFU) engaged the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) after the FRA announced the 2017 maize producer price. A meeting was held with the FRA on Friday 4th August 2017 as the Union was not consulted prior to announcing the price. During the meeting, the Union made it very clear that the K60 set by the FRA was below the cost of producing maize,” Zimba said.

“In a new turn of events, the Union has received a letter from the FRA stating and we quote…” It is therefore the considered view of the board that the price of K60 per 50 Kg bag of white maize be maintained because it is a market price.” The Union is shocked by this development and we have escalated this matter to the Minister of Agriculture because of the inconsistencies at play.”

Zimba has said that farmers have been sacrificed after interfering with market prices last season.

“As we speak FRA is also selling to some traders ostensibly for exports. What we can deduce is that farmers have been sacrificed after interfering with market prices last season. We must fore warn against such piece meal and short-sighted benefits that will arise because of paying farmers paltry prices,” said Zimba.

“The mealie meal price may drop now but the clear signal to farmers is DON’T GROW MAIZE going forward. Being a staple food, maize production cannot be left to the vagaries of unpredictable interventions.”

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