FRA update on crop purchases
The Food Reserve Agency is concerned with reports of small scale famers being exploited by maize traders who are offering low prices for the commodity.
The Agency wishes to report that crop purchases have been recorded in a few depots in Northwestern province.
Kabompo recorded 4,458 x 50Kg bags of maize and Zambezi 1,015 x 50Kg bags of maize. A sum of K60.9 million has been paid to some farmers in Zambezi district. Apart from the high moisture content, maize deliveries have been delayed due to rains recently reported in various parts of the country. However, the Agency has positioned its Agents, who are ready to receive crop that will meet the grain quality specifications, at all satellite depots. In addition, the government has released K16 billion towards the program. Meanwhile farmers are advised to negotiate for profitable prices as they sell to other maize buyers.
The Agency plans to buy at least 300,000 metric tonnes of maize, 1,200 metric tonnes of Paddy rice and 1,000metric tonnes of Cassava. The national budget provided for K100 billion and the remaining K700 billion is being mobilized from commercial bank(s).
The Agency has adequate usable storage capacity of 1.3 million metric tonnes comprising of storage sheds, grain Silos and Hard standings (Slabs).
The Agency reiterates that since the marketing season opened on 1st May, 2010, 655 satellite depots have been opened, countrywide. These are distributed by province, Central-80, Copperbelt- 34, Eastern- 125, Lusaka-28, Luapula-74, Northern-124, North Western-58, Southern-98 and Western-33. The average number of satellite depots per district is ten.
-more- For further information please contact the Public Relations Officer on 0977892686 or 286097
The actual number depends on production levels of a district and adjustments will be made as the marketing season progresses.
The average readings of moisture content taken across the country show that maize being held and harvested by farmers is still wet as the moisture reading is above the required 12.5% maximum. However, the latest moisture readings indicate a significant drop particularly in Western, Lusaka and Northwestern provinces. The readings by province are, Central-14.2%, Copperbelt-13.8, Eastern-14.3%,Lusaka-13.5%, Luapula-14.8%, Northern A(Kasama)-15.2%, Northern B(Isoka)-16.1%, Northwestern-13.6%,Southern-14.4% and Western-13.6%. Buying maize with high moisture content would lead to the grain discoloring and eventually rotting.
Also, the Agency is aware of some people who are not farmers, who have positioned themselves to penetrate and benefit from the program. The Agency has strengthened the system that will not allow anyone who is not a farmer to sell his crop to the Agency. The public should be warned not to attempt to abuse the FRA program, which is meant to address small scale farmers, to avoid being embarrassed at buying depots.
Anthony Mwanaumo (Dr.)