EXPENSIVE maize production has prompted small scale farmers to look for better prices to meet the demand of the cost, says Small Scale Farmers Development Agency Boyd Moombwe.
Mr Moombwe said it was not surprising that small scale farmers as well as commercial ones were selling their harvest to private business partners because private buyers offer a price higher than that of Food Reserve Agency.
He said small scale farmers look at a better price because maize production was expensive and that farming was a business which should be treated like any other business where both parties need to benefit.
He also expressed concern about the amount at which the Food Reserve Agency offers to buy maize from farmers.
Mr Moombwe said the agency was looking to support 15,000 small scale farmers in Central, Eastern, Southern and Luapula provinces of Zambia by providing them with farming inputs for this 2016/2017 farming season and that farming should be considered as a business.
He said the private sector gave cash-on-delivery while the FRA was taking long to pay the farmers, hence farmers resorted to go to private sectors despite FRA buying maize on a regular basis.
Mr Moombwe applauded the Ministry of Agriculture for supporting his organisation in shielding small scale farmers.
He appealed to the Government to put up policies that would protect the small scale farmers and encourage them to participate in the farming business in order to contribute to the country’s economic growth.
“I am appealing to the provincial agricultural committees and district agricultural committee to educate and train farmers in agriculture and building trust between the farmer and stakeholder,” he said.