The Food Reserve Agency(FRA) has set a target of purchasing 42,900 metric tonnes of white maize from small scale famers in region ‘B’ comprising of six districts of Southern Province.
Speaking in an interview with ZANIS today, Region B Manager, Stephen Liato said the agency will commence the exercise next week following the recommended moisture content of 12.5 per cent obtaining in the region.
Mr Liato said FRA intends to buy the commodity from Mazabuka, Monze, Pemba, Namwala, Gwembe and Chikankata adding that 77 satellites have been set up in the region to expedite the exercise.
He said 11,000 metric tonnes of maize will be bought in Monze from 20 satellite depots that have been set up.
Mr Liato however, maintained that the agency would be buying a 50 killogrames bag of the commodity at K110.
“The agency is set to buy 42,900 metric tonnes of white maize from farmers in region B which comprises of Monze, Mazabuka, Namwala, Gwembe, Chikankata, and Pemba. For Monze, we have a target of 11,000 metric tonnes which we intend to buy from the 20 satellites depots spread across the district,’’ said Mr Liato.
He has called on farmers in the region to sell their maize to the agency for strategic food reserves.
“I wish to make an earnest appeal to farmers in Monze and indeed the entire region to sell their maize to the agency for strategic food reserves as this is the same maize that would help them in times of drought as was the case last year,” he appealed.
Meanwhile, farmers in Monze District have continued to complain over the K110 floor price of maize set by the Agency arguing that it was too low to cover the production costs.
Monze District Cooperatives Chairperson, Edward Mudenda noted that farmers incurred a lot of costs to access inputs.
“ I wish to make an appeal to government to listen to the plight of farmers and reconsider adjusting the floor price of maize to at least K145 in order to encourage farmers to continue to grow maize and sustain the agriculture sector which is predominantly crop based,” said Mr Mudenda.