Paya Farmer: Solwezi farmers besiege FRA to take back their maize

-Scores of irate small scale farmers yesterday stormed Food Reserve Agency (FRA) offices in Solwezi demanding to be given back their maize they sold to the agency.

The farmers have been angered by the FRA delays to pay them their money for the maize they supplied.

They want to withdraw the grain from the FRA in order to sell it to millers whom they believe will pay them instant cash.

The FRA in North Western Province owes farmers over K56.267 billion, after disbursing about K28.026 billion out of the total of K84.293 billion for 40,000 metric tonnes of maize supplied to the agency.

North Western Province Permanent Secretary, Augustine Seyuba, rushed to the Food Reserve Agency and addressed the farmers.

During the meeting the farmers complained that they were now tired of walking to the FRA offices following up their payments and only to be told ‘come tomorrow’ each other day.

They said they have been unable to send their children to school this term while it has become difficult for them to prepare for the new farming season because the FRA is still holding on to their money.

The famers charged that their resolution was to withdraw their maize from agency so that they can sell it to millers who are ready to pay them.

Mr Seyuba appealed to the farmers not to withdraw their maize from the FRA, asking for their patience as his office was trying to address their plight with agency and agricultural authorities.

Earlier, a meeting between Mr Seyuba and the FRA Provincial Marketing Coordinator, Tito Chabakala revealed that the accountant in the province had not been able to access funds meant to pay farmers from ZANACO local branch.

This is because the ZANACO authorities in the province have not received instructions from their headquarters in Lusaka advising them that the FRA accountant must be one of the signatories to the maize marketing account.

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