The Food Reserve Agency (FRA) was established in 1995 by the Government through an Act of Parliament, Cap 225 of the laws of Zambia. The Food Reserve Act of 1995 (“the FRA Act”) was passed. Pursuant to this Act, in 1996 the Food Reserve Agency (“FRA” or “the Agency”) was established, replacing the operations of the former National Agricultural Marketing Board (NAMBOARD) and Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF).
In 2005, Government amended the FRA Act and bestowed upon the Agency the extra mandate of Crop Marketing.
FRA was established as a consequence of the various social and economic reforms Government embarked upon since 1991 aimed at creating a market oriented economic system in Zambia. As a result, the agricultural sector, including marketing of agricultural produce, was liberalized and this saw the Government reducing its participation.
Government’s involvement in the agricultural sector is now restricted to:
- Ensuring the maintenance of food security reserves;
- Providing overall market support;
- Providing relevant market information; and
- Providing agricultural credit facilities to small-scale farmers
FRA BENEFITS RURAL COMMUNITIES
FRA completes the value chain by providing market access to small scale farmers in rural areas which results in the following benefits:
- Increased farmer net earnings hence improved living standards
- Increased food production and household food security
- FRA creates massive seasonal employment for rural women and youths during the marketing season
- FRA influences growth from small to emergent farmer category
- FRA facilitates asset accumulation
The role of Public Relations in the Agency is anchored on the history, the FRA Act, Agency policies, the strategic plan, procedures and practices.
The role of the Public Relations Unit in FRA
The main role of the unit is to create a positive image of the Agency by establishing and maintaining mutually beneficial relations between the Agency and its various stakeholders.
The functions of the Unit
The unit builds its workflow according to various functions under its mandate. Basically, the workflow involves performance of several major functions such as Advertising, Publicity, Protocol, Stakeholder Management, Media Management and Corporate Social Responsibility.
- The unit’s role is to collect, coordinate and process advertisements meant for the media on behalf of FRA.
- Monitor advertisements so that they appear at selected time, frequency and agreed rate
- Creating awareness and sensitization
- Provide accurate and timely information to all stakeholders
- Management of website, newsletter, TV and radio programmes
The PRU coordinates the production of radio and television programmes in order to create awareness and sensitization about the Agency and matters incidental to. One of the flagship TV and radio programme is called “Our Food Reserve.”(LINK) In addition the Unit coordinates the production and broadcast of all community, radio and TV programmes in both English and vernacular.
Organise FRA public functions
- Management of FRA and national anniversaries
- Manage launches/commissioning and celebrations
Stake Holder Management
- Conduct stakeholder mapping and review
- Initiate stakeholder engagement strategies
- Select communication channels
- Media monitoring and evaluation
- Respond to press queries
- Issue press statements and releases
- Conduct press tours
- Conduct press briefs
Corporate Social Responsibility
- Support philanthropic causes
The Policy of the Agency is to support traditional and cultural activities obtaining in rural communities in which it conducts its business. The policy is premised on the rich historical and cultural practices of our fore fathers that ensured food security that led to stable and prosperous societies. For example to date, some traditional ceremonies are held to commemorate either the triumph over hunger or to pay tribute to gods for a successful harvest season.
However, the Agency recognizes that it cannot meet every tribe or ethnic group at its point of need. Therefore, its Social Responsibility is also expressed and nuanced through the contribution made in improving the lot of the poor and marginalized rural populations by providing market access for their produce.
Rural farmer’s earnings from FRA, for example, have improved the quality of life among these folks in immense ways. Majority rural communities now have:
- Houses made of bricks and roofing sheets and not mud and thatch;
- Solar lighting;
- Bought cars and trucks to ease transportation;
- Diversified their business;
- Pay TV;
- Enrolled their children and dependents into school; and
- Have safe, clean and potable water.
Suffice to mention that FRA’s presence in rural areas and the money paid to farmers has stimulated commerce and trade. For example, FRA has been at the fore front of actualizing the Zambian government’s policy for the private sector to run the economy by offering business to different sectors, such as, banks, transporters, pest controllers, construction firms, including quasi government institutions, namely, Zambia Bureau of Standards, Zambia Weights and Measures, and many more.
Hitherto, for instance, rural areas were unbanked but because of FRA banking services have been introduced in many outlying areas. The provision of a host of social services by other business entities has therefore helped in the creation of employment.
The Public Relations Unit has a total of 2 positions with offices in Lusaka at head office.
Ministry of Agriculture
National Nutrition Commission
School of Agriculture (UNZA)