THE Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has purchased 540 000 metric tonnes of maize in the last five weeks and about K810 million has since been paid to farmers across the country with the highest purchase being recorded in Northern Province where 110 00 metric tonnes of the grain has been bought.
And FRA has dispelled fears and concerns from stakeholders that the agency did not have enough maize to distribute to hunger-prone areas in the country, stating that the agency has in fact enough grain to distribute as relief maize to various hunger-prone areas in the country.
FRA executive director Chola Kafwabulula told the Daily Nation yesterday in his weekly maize purchase update as the maize marketing season was approaching its end, the FRA had managed to buy a total of 540 000 metric tons of maize across the country.
Mr Kafwabulula said Northen Province had recorded the highest purchase of the grain seconded by Luapula Province where 6,600 metric tonns of maize had been purchased.
He said payments to the farmers were continuing as the urgency was expecting more funding from the Treasury.
And Mr Kafwabulula said FRA was working with the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) in the distribution of relief maize to all the hunger-prone areas across the country.
Mr Kafwabulula said to ensure that families that were threatened by hunger in the country were food secure, FRA was coordinating with DMMU in the distribution of relief maize.
He stated that the distribution of relief maize by FRA in collaboration with DMMU was in line with mandate of the agency under part 3 of the FRA Act.
He said the FRA Act stated that the agency should meet food emergency which could be caused either by drought, floods or any other natural disasters.
“There had been concerns during the beginning of the year from various stakeholders that FRA did not have enough maize to embark on the distribution of relief grain to hunger-prone areas across the country. I wish to assure the nation that FRA has enough maize to address the hunger situation in various hunger-prone areas across the country. We are working with the DMMU in the distribution of relief maize to hunger-prone areas to make sure that families that are threatened with hunger are food-secure, Mr Kafwabulula said.
He said FRA through the DMMU had since commenced the distribution of relief maize and that in Western Province, Shang’ombo, Nalolo, Limulunga, Sikongo, Kalabo and Nangweshi had received relief maize.
Mr Kafwabulula said other areas that have since received relief maize included Gwembe valley and Namwala in Southern Province, Bangweulu swamps in Luapula Province, and Lundazi and Chama valley in the Eastern Province.
Mr Kafwabulula said if there were areas that were food insecure and needed relief maize, they should approach their nearest DMMU offices which would quickly collaborate with RFA to ensure the delivery of relief maize.