By Tindi Mubwaluka Ntalasha
The govt has announced that every 50 kg bag of maize will be sold for k150. To those from a distance,this seems like good money compared to other years. But that is as good as it gets; Imaginary.
For every 10 kg bag of seed maize, you will need 4 bags of fertilizer at minimum..2 basal, 2 top dressing. In a season where these bags went for a minimum of k600, it means you will need about k2400 for fertilizer alone. And they say a 10 kg bag of maize should be able to bring back about 50 bags for those who hit maximum production. Otherwise mostly it’s 30-40 bags.
Let’s get into context, if 10 kgs needs 2 bags d and two bags urea at a price of k600, as established,one will need k2400.. that means the farmer will have to sell 16 bags of his 35 bags to just get money for fertiliser. If the farmer decides to keep 10 bags of maize for consumption in that year, he remains with 9. Let’s argue he just keeps 5, means he remains with 14 bags. That is provided he harvests 35 bags.
You will need to spray the maize about 4 or 5 times at minimum..Every drum will require about k120, insecticides and buffer together and this is at minimum. So if you spray 4 times, you will need a minimum of k480. That means you will need to sell about 3.2 bags to cover the cost of spraying. The farmer now effectively remains with 10 bags. You sell these 10 bags at k150, you will realize k1500.. you haven’t factored in labor costs and price of bags to package as well as cost of transport. In every 10 kg seed, the farmer will sell for profit,only about 5 bags maximum.. k750..will the small scale maize farmer ever graduate to commercial at this level?
This is a sad day for the maize farmer..This has hit home hard. Sad sad day indeed. The small scale farmer mourns. We live to fight another day but govt has robbed and killed us. Does this make the PF govt sleep at ease knowing a farmers child may not meet their school needs due to insufficient funds arising from the insulting price tabled by govt? Where wa