By SILUMESI MALUMO
FOOD Reserve Agency (FRA) will have a tough time meeting its target during the 2018/2019 maize marketing season because the private sector is offering much better commodity prices, National Union for Small Scale Farmers of Zambia (NUSSFZ) president, Frank Kayula, has said.
Dr Kayula said the K110 floor price for a 50 kg bag of maize set by the agency was low compared to the K160 being offered by the private sector. He said the agency would have used the market forces to determine the most appropriate commodity floor prices.
“It will be very difficult for FRA to buy about 300,000 metric tonnes of maize because most of the farmers would sell their maize to the highest bidder,” he said.
The NUSSFZ chief told the Daily Nation in an interview yesterday, the agency should have heeded the advice by the Farmers to set the floor price between K120and K140 in order to meet the market forces.
“K110, 00 is something we can say thank you to government because it is a 64 percent increment but the agency will face difficulties to meet its target,” her said.
“A ZNFU, we have advised the farmers to sell their maize to where they can get a good price to recoup their money and make profit,” Dr Kayula said.
The FRA has announced a K110 floor price for a 50 kilogram bag of maize for the 2019 crop marketing season.
And the FRA has assured the nation that Zambia was food secure and would continue to be for the foreseeable future.
Announcing the prices at a media briefing in Lusaka yesterday, FRA Board Chairman, Joe Simachela, said the agency will buy soyabeans at K150 per 50 kilogram bag and paddy rice at K70 per 40 kilogram bag.
And Dr Kayula predicted that the country might face a deficit in its strategic reserves because of the low prices the agency was offering for the crops.
With this price, Dr Kayula said, the agency would only manage to buy maize from certain provinces like Northern were prices were still low.