The Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has so far bought over 200,000 metric tonnes of maize with Agriculture permanent Secretary David Shamulenge saying the overwhelming response by farmers to opt for FRA rather than private buyers was as a result of President Edgar Lungu’s move to increase the price from the initial K70 to K75 for a 50 kilogramme bag of maize.
“The move by Government to increase the purchasing price of maize from K70 to K75 has created positive competition among maize buyers resulting in some private buyers offering more that K75 per 50 kilogramme bag of maize for the benefit of the farmers,” Dr. Shamulenge said.
He appealed to farmers not to worry about the market as Government and private buyers would purchase all their maize because it had provided an enabling environment for both local and international buyers on the market.
Dr Shamulenge said Government planned to buy all the maize it was targeting this year by the second week of September adding that it was expecting an active participation of private buyers to finish up the stocks that farmers would still want to sell owing to the maize deficit in the region. “The FRA has as of today (yesterday), bought 231,298 metric tonnes of maize representing 46.3% of the total 500,000 metric tonnes for national strategic food reserve. The projected purchase of 500,000 metric tonnes will be attained by 15th September 2015. Thereafter government through FRA will mop up and purchase all the excess maize for both local and international market taking into consideration the maize deficit in the region,” he said.