The Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) has denied having been consulted by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) before the latter arrived at the K65 crop price per 50 kilogramme (kg) bag maize for the 2018 crop marketing season.
ZNFU President Jervis Zimba said the union has never met the FRA to discuss maize prices after last year’s efforts that yielded a blank.
Mr. Zimba said last year’s efforts failed because the FRA told the union that it was government that set the K60 per 50 kg bag of maize with no consultation and government insisted it was FRA.
In a statement to ZANIS today, Mr. Zimba said the claim by the FRA that the union was consulted to arrive at this year’s maize price is dishonest as ZNFU did not attend such a meeting.
“As a union that represents all farmers in the country, we have been informed that the issue of producer prices has been left to the whims of market forces. Therefore, government should yield to these dictates but offer an economic price to far flung areas,” he said.
Mr. Zimba has since threatened to launch a formal complaint to government saying the ZNFU stands ready to dialogue with government if called upon to do so but not by engaging in spin media tactics.
He pointed out that ZNFU disassociates itself from being party to the announcement made by FRA, adding that the union refuses to legitimize a price to which it has had no input in determining.
On Friday the 20th July 2018 during the announcement of the maize floor price for this year, FRA disclosed that it had consulted key stakeholders including ZNFU when arriving at this year’s maize price.
“FRA in arriving at the determined prices for 2018 undertook a process of crop price scenario analysis that included inter alia consultations of key market stakeholders and players in the crop marketing chain. These key stakeholders included, the Grain Traders Association of Zambia, Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) and Zambia National Framers Union (ZNFU) to mention a few,” said Joe Simachela, the FRA Board Chairman.
Mr. Simachela further said the crop prices are FRA prices at which the agency shall buy the crop and will not imply floor prices.