….. As the agency maintains last season’s maize price despite increase in inputs such as fertilizer
By Scoop reporter
THE Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has maintained its maize purchasing price at K110 per 50 kilogram with soya beans and paddy rice of the same quantity fetching for K150 and K170 respectively.
Announcing the prices of commodities during a press briefing in Lusaka this morning, FRA Executive Director Chola Kafwabulula said in arriving at determined prices for 2020, the Agency acknowledges that this year is unique in nature.
Mr. Kafwabulula says this is because of the urgent need for FRA to replenish the strategic grain reserves from a dynamic grain market obtaining locally and in the region
He says it is anticipated that the FRA prices shall not disadvantage the private sector who are expected to purchase the larger share of the 3,387,469 metric tonnes produced, in the case of maize.
He says the prices were arrived at after consultations with key stakeholders and after a survey of the prevailing farm gate and open market prices.
“In consultation with Government, FRA undertook a process of crop price scenario analysis that included a survey of the prevailing farm gate and open market prices and consultations with key market stakeholders and players in the crop marketing chain under the auspices of the ministry of agriculture.
“This also included the indicative crop gross margin budgets, taking care of input costs in relation to commercial pricing and the subsidy beneficiaries of the Government Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP),” Mr. Kafwabulula said.
He says FRA will purchase 1,000,000 (1 million) metric tonnes white maize, 3,000 metric tonnes of soya beans, and 1,000 metric tonnes of paddy rice and shall operate 1,200 satellite depots in 105 districts.
He says farmers shall be paid through designated banks upon presentation of appropriate documentation and that it is Government’s desire to promote and develop the agriculture sector.
He says as a result, funds for farmer payment on first-come-first-serve basis will be made available and FRA will disburse to the various districts farmer paying financial institutions in readiness for payment to farmers who deliver the crop to our depots upon meeting the necessary documentation and scrutiny.
“There is a strong commitment from government to continue releasing farmer payment funds periodically and promptly to ensure FRA meets its purchase target in preparation for the 2020 crop marketing exercise, and in trying to realise the target for 2020, the agency has put in place preparatory measures.
“These include provision of market access to the small scale farmers in rural areas by targeting to operate 1,200 satellite depots, prepositioning of marketing requisites such as empty grain bags, sieves, and bailing twine, repair and servicing of the platform scales, disinfection of storage sheds for grain diseases and pests, and registration of transporters for local movement and securing of purchased grain,” he said.