By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
THE Zambia National Framers Union (ZNFU) has threatened to convince members not sell their maize to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) this coming marketing season if the agency does not clear the current K100 million balance.
ZNFU president, Jervis Zimba, said FRA still owed farmers K100 million and that this had impacted negatively on their livelihood.
Mr Zimba complained that as of three weeks ago, FRA had not yet cleared farmers who sold their maize to the agency.
He therefore threatened to tell farmers not to sell their maize to the agency if the trend continued.
Mr Zimba was speaking in an interview yesterday in Lusaka.
“FRA should have pity on these farmers they use for their needs. That is income for the whole year for farmers. They only get income once in a year and how will they manage without being paid. Farmers also want to lead a good life.
“We will inform our farmers not to sell their maize to FRA. We want to be assured before the marketing season this year that it will be different. If FRA had not yet received their money at that time, we will tell our farmers not to give them maize,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Zimba said the poor funding towards the agriculture sector through the Farmers Input Support Programme (FISP) had affected yield production.
Mr Zimba said it was unfortunate that Government still owned K300 million under FISP.
“Up to now Government is owing close to about K300 million under the E-voucher, when do farmers get the fertilisers, the late poor input distribution will affect the yields.
“Poor funding to FISP and FRA when put together affects productivity in the country and then in the end people always blame the farmer for poor productivity. We hope FRA will learn lessons this year by giving a good price and paying farmers of time,” Mr Zimba said.