THE Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has bought 193,923 metric tonnes of maize as of Thursday, 18th August, 2016.
FRA public relations officer Daniel M’soka said the FRA maize marketing season began four weeks ago and was delayed because the agency waited for the maize moisture content to get to 12.5 percent to avoid the rotting of grain in storage.
Mr M’soka said FRA had so far recorded higher purchases of maize from Northern Province with 55,608 metric tonnes, Luapula with 48,654 metric tonnes, North Western with 31,382 metric tonnes and Muchinga with 29,506 metric tonnes.
He said FRA anticipated a rapid rise in maize purchases as the months of August and September were usually peak periods as most farmers would have finished preparing the maize for delivery to the agency.
The agency observed that the recent general election had also affected the marketing tempo, saying FRA was targeting to purchase about 1 million metric tonnes of maize above its strategic reserves of 500,000 metric tonnes.
Mr M’soka said the agency had also started paying farmers on a first-come, first- served basis after Government disbursed a total sum of K43, 198,219.23.
The FRA is paying farmers only through banks or financial institutions, he said.