The Food Reserve Agency (FRA) was established in 1995 by the Government of the Republic of Zambia through the Food Reserve Act Chapter 225 of the laws of Zambia and continues its existence as if established under the Food Reserve Act No. 6 of 2020. The Food Reserve Act No. 6 of 2020 is an Act that continues the existence of the Food Reserve Agency and re-defines its functions; re-constitutes the Board of the Agency; continues the existence of the National Strategic Food Reserve; repeals and replaces the Food Reserve Act Chapter 225 and provides for matters connected with, or incidental to the foregoing.
The functions of the Agency include the management of National Strategic Food Reserve as provided in section 5, sub section 1 and 2 (a-e) of the Food Reserve Act No. 6 of 2020 and are as follows:
- Market and trade a designated agricultural commodity;
- Purchase, import, sell, trade or export a designated agricultural commodity;
- Establish, manage, lease and maintain a storage facility and equipment to be used in relation to a designated agricultural commodity;
- Collect information related to the marketing of a designated agricultural commodity; and
- Advise the Minister on matters relating to the National Strategic Food Reserve.
FRA has a zero-tolerance policy to corruption which is underscored by its warm and cordial working relationship with the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). The Agency has an Integrity Committee which underpins its desire to be a corrupt-free organisation.
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;
- creation of massive seasonal employment for rural women and youths during the marketing season;
- influences growth from small to emergent farmer category; and
- facilitates asset accumulation.
The FRA fully subscribes to tenets of good governance and has an enduring culture of best practice. The FRA Act provides for a Board. The Board comprises ten part-time members who are nominated by their respective organizations or Ministers and appointed by the Minister responsible for agriculture. FRA Board members are representatives of, and drawn from:
- small scale farmers;
- large scale farmers;
- Millers; and
- Grain Traders;
- a representative of the Attorney-General;
- a representative each of the ministry responsible for—
- fisheries and livestock;
- finance; and
- Commerce, Trade and Industry; and
- two persons with proven knowledge and experience in matters relevant to this Act.
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
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.