The Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) says the maize floor price of K70 per 50 Kg bag announced by the Paya Farmer (PF) is exploitative to farmers.
ZNFU says the ideal price per 50 kg bag for 2014 is K92.26 and that the price announced by the government was supposed to be for four years ago.
The ZNFU has observed that taking inflation as the starting point, the prices of most goods and services in the country have continued to rise, with the magnitude of the increment varying from month to month and year to year.
The Union further notes that despite this trend of the country’s inflation fluctuations the maize floor price has been static from 2009 at K65 per 50Kg bag which it says means that while the prices of commodities that farmers face just like any other consumer has been going up, the incomes of farmers remained unchanged.
ZNFU president Evelyn Nguleka said that her union is of the view that had economic conditions that farmers face were put into consideration especially in view of the fact that the floor price was last revised in 2009, the floor price for maize for 2014 should have been at K92.26 per 50Kg bag reflective of the 7.8 percent inflation recorded during this year’s maize marketing season.
Dr. Nguleka says this price would have represented a K6.68 increase from the floor price of 2013 which should have also had an increase of K5.60 to set the floor price at K85.58 per 50Kg bag in view of inflation which stood at 7 percent during that year’s maize marketing season.
She says this would also imply that the inflation rate of 6.6 percent recorded in the year 2012 would have triggered an increase of K4.74 and thus having maize floor price of K79.98 per 50Kg.
Dr. Nguleka further notes that this also entails that the increase of price in the year 2011 where inflation was recorded at 6.3 percent, should have been K4.46 thereby setting the floor price at K75.24 per 50 Kg.
She adds that other consideration that government should have had in mind in the setting the 2014 floor price of maize should have been the upward adjustment of cost of fuel, depreciation of the Kwacha, upward adjustment of Interest rates and the wage related costs in maize production.
The ZNFU president says besides all the listed factors, it is also important to recognize that during the year, new charges were introduced by some local councils that include toll fees on some main roads which she says means transporters will be adding all these costs to the cost of inputs.
She says her union thus earnestly appeals to government to consider revising the floor price upwards for the sake of incentivising the farmers to produce more for the country and also reduce the poverty levels among rural farmers.