Lubinda warns agro input dealers

ANY agriculture input dealer who will increase the price of fertilizer of the Nitrogen Chemical of Zambia (NCZ) Limited above the stated price of K320 shall be penalised, Agriculture Minister Given Lubinda has warned.

And Mr Lubinda has directed Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia Limited (NCZ) to produce 44, 000 metric tonnes of ‘D’ compound fertilizer for the open market in an effort to mitigate against the high fertilizer prices.

Mr Lubinda said the fertilizer for the open market would be priced at not more than K320 per 50KG bag and warned that any dealer who would be selling the fertiliser above the stipulated price would be punished by not being sold any further stocks by NCZ.

“Remember that this is NCZ fertilizer and NCZ on behalf of government has a right to determine the price at which its product is to be sold,” Mr Lubinda said.

He said this when he made a ministerial statement to Parliament.

Mr Lubinda encouraged farmers to access the fertilizer produced by NCZ and avoid being exploited by private suppliers.

“Government is concerned about the current high prices of agriculture inputs, in particular fertilizer,” he said.

Mr Lubinda said the fertilizer would be made available to agriculture input dealers scattered across the country.

Meanwhile, Mr Lubinda announced in parliament yesterday that government had decided to bring back the maize pack support to the levels of the 2014/2015 agriculture season.

“A total of 162,572 more farmers will benefit from maize packs under

the programme. The number of farmers benefiting from maize packs will increase from the current 598, 723 to 761, 295,” he said.

Mr Lubinda said the total number of targeted beneficiary farmers would now increase from 1,000, 000 to 1, 162, 572.

He said the undertaking would require an additional 32, 514.4 metric tonnes of fertilizer and 1, 625.72 metric tonnes of maize seed.

“All the required fertilizer quantities have already been procured by the Government and therefore, only the maize seed is yet to be procured. An estimated total of K42 million will be required to procure the additional maize seed and K11 million to move the seed and fertilizer,” Mr Lubinda said.

He said the Ministry of Finance had already committed itself to release the funds to support the programme.

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