Food Reserve Agency (FRA) Chief Executive Officer, Chola Kafwabulula, has disclosed that government has released K50 Million to pay transporters to ensure that all the maize stock and other crop bought during this year’s maize marketing season were secured in the main holding depots.
Dr. Kafwabulula says FRA is therefore committed to ensure that all the maize purchased from satellite depots across the country is moved to main holding depots before the onset of the rains.
He said the agency has also engaged the Zambia National Services (ZNS) and the Zambia Army in Western, Muchinga and Luapula provinces to ferry the maize to main holding depots.
Dr. Kafwabulula said this yesterday after he toured maize depots in Choma and Kalomo Districts of Southern Province.
” We have received K50 Million from the government to enable us to move fast to ensure that all the maize and other crops we bought are all mopped up before the onset of the rains. And so far, the Zambia Army and ZNS are helping us in Western, Luapula and Muchinga to mop up the commodity from the satellite depots to main depots so that it is secured,” said Dr. Kafwabulula.
Meanwhile, Dr. Kafwabulula disclosed that the Agency was winding up the crop marketing season as farmers have almost stopped bringing maize for sale to the agency.
Dr. Kafwabulula stated that before the extension of the marketing season, the Agency used to purchase between 20,000 to 25,000 metric tonnes of maize from farmers across the country and that currently the Agency buys about 5,000 metric tonnes per week.
He observed that the indication was that most farmers no longer have enough maize to sell to the agency.
Dr. Kafwabulula however said the 287,000 metric tonnes of maize bought by the Agency during the 2022 crop marketing season and the carry over stock was adequate for the country’s food security.
“I am happy that we have managed to buy 287,000 metric tonnes so far and when you add that to the carry over stock we have a total of more than 9,000,000 which is adequate for the country’s food security,” he said.
He said the Agency was now putting in measures to ensure the maize was secured by preventing wastages or thefts.
Dr. Kafwabulula, who is touring Southern Province to check on the extended maize buying exercise as well as quality and quantity compliance, has since directed FRA officials at Chilala maize depot to ensure the stock was fumigated to keep it safe.
“I have noticed that our maize in some depots I have visited in Namwala, Choma and Kalomo Districts is in very good condition and well secured, but here at Chilala I have noticed that it has a bit of powder and I therefore, direct my officers to quickly fumigate the stock as early as possible to keep it safe”, he stressed.
And Southern Province Marketing Coordinator, Benson Mumba, stated that no cases of theft or crop wastage have been recorded at any maize shed so far.
He assured the government that all the maize bought by the Agency was safely stored and secure.
And some farmers talked to by ZANIS thanked government through FRA for buying their produce at a fair price to cover production costs.
A small-scale farmer from Mang’uza in Choma District, Chikonka Monde, who sold 457 by 50-kilogram bags of maize to the agency, said farmers were also happy that the government paid their dues upon delivery of the commodity.
Mr. Monde noted that the development has helped farmers to prepare adequately for the 2023 farming season.