The Food Reserve Agency (FRA) reports that it has paid approximately K1.2 billion to small-scale farmers in rural areas for maize provided during the current crop marketing season 2020/2021.
In a press statement issued today in Lusaka, FRA Public Relations Coordinator John Chipandwe told ZANIS that the agency has paid more than K1.2 billion for grade A maize purchased as of August 19, 2021.
Mr Chipandwe stated that the Agency had purchased about 9.5 million bags of grade A 50 kilogramme bags, which equates to 477,500.75 metric tonnes.
He explained that the total cost of the maize purchased amounts to over K1.4 billion and that more than K220 million has not yet been paid to farmers.
Mr Chipandwe said the 477,500.75 metric tonnes represents 95.5 per cent achievement of its planned target of 500,000 metric tonnes of maize for national strategic food security.
He said the FRA remains optimistic of reaching the target of purchasing 500,000 metric tonnes of maize for strategic food reserves.
“The Agency is optimistic that it will soon reach its planned target and will continue buying crops for Zambia’s national strategic food reserves up to the close of the marketing season which is October 31st, 2021”, said Mr Chipandwe.
Mr Chipandwe said the FRA has not faced any challenges in purchasing the maize as farmers are happy with the buying price.
He noted that the timely release of funds by government is enabling the FRA to quickly pay farmers that deliver their crops.
Zambia’s 2020/2021 crop forecast survey indicated that maize production was expected to increase to 3,620,244 tonnes in the current agricultural season from 3,387,469 tonnes produced in the previous season.
The continued bumper harvest has been attributed to largely the unprecedented early delivery of farming inputs under the government driven subsidized Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) to over 1 million smallholder farmers and expansion in the area planted.