“FRA says they have bought their mandated strategic reserves and can’t buy anymore”
While Zambia has a bumper harvest and it’s peasant farmers have produced in excess of 3.8million metric tonnes, the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) is only buying a measly 500,000 mt.
The FRA says they have met their strategic maize target and has closed the sheds leaving hundreds of farmers stranded
The (FRA) says it has now met its total budgeted target of buying 477,900 mt of maize as of yesterday after purchasing 479,959 mt and will effectively close its marketing season by close of business today.
The Agency has however assured farmers that those already at its satellite depots before the deadline will be served until the last farmer is attended to but the Agency would not exceed its 500,000 metric tonne mark
In the last one week, the Agency has experienced a huge turnout of farmers at its satellite depots as the FRA marketing season was drawing to a close.
In some instances, this rush has resulted in farmers spending nights at satellite depots especially in Eastern, Northern, Luapula and Southern provinces.
During the on-going marketing season the Agency recorded highest purchases in Eastern province followed by Southern and Northern provinces.
“We feel for our farmers because although we have met our target, they will have spent money on transportation to the satellite depots and as such we cannot close the door in their face.
“It is similar to what happens during elections that the last voter on the queue has to be allowed to vote even after polling stations have closed”, said the Executive Director Mr. Chola Kafwabulula.
Mr. Kafwabulula said as a best business practice the Agency will continue serving farmers already at satellite depots by close of business today.
Government early in the year directed FRA to only buy 500,000 mt of grain comprising maize (477,900mt), Soya beans (20,000mt) and rice (2,100mt).