By Nation Reporter
GOVERNMENT’S decision to increase the maize purchase metric tonnes to one million this year has given an assurance to farmers that most of their crops will be bought, Zambia Cooperative Federation Director General James Chirwa has observed.
He said this would also prevent farmers from being exploited by unscrupulous buyers who take advantage of farmers by forcing them to sell their crops at a lower price.
Last year, Government purchased 500,000 metric tonnes.
Mr Chirwa noted that the increase in the number of grains to be purchased has also given farmers an assurance that most of their crops would not go to waste.
He urged farmers not to rush into selling their maize to briefcase buyers as Government would procure most of their produce following the increase in the number of metric tonnes.
Mr. Chirwa, however, said the move by Government to increase this year’s maize purchase was a wakeup call to the private sectors which needed to be revived for them to effectively contribute to economic growth of the country.
He charged that Government through the federation wanted to revive the cooperative movement to increase productivity in the agricultural sector through high purchases.
And Mr. Chirwa said the Federation would this year participate in the 2015/2016 purchase of maize.
But some farmers talked to, Joseph Chitalu, of Mumbwa said the price of many farming inputs had been hiked, hence the need for Government to consider increasing the price of maize.
And Charity Sampa of Chongwe also said if the price was increased, it would enable farmers realise reasonable profits from the farm produce.
On Tuesday, Agriculture minister Given Lubinda announced that FRA would this year purchase one million metric tonnes of maize.
The minister also announced that the Food Reserve Agency would be buying a 50 kilogram bag of maize at K75 in this year’s crop marketing season.