AgricultureLocal News

ZNFU counsels farmers

… don't sell maize cheaply

THE Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) is dismayed with the premature sale of maize by small-scale farmers at low prices.
ZNFU president Jervis Zimba, said the organisation was aware that farmers could be desperate for money, which was why predatory briefcase buyers were exploiting them.
In a statement released in Lusaka, Mr Zimba urged small-scale farmers to hold onto the grain until the marketing season starts.
He said that briefcase maize buyers were defrauding farmers out of their grain by offering them poor prices for as low as K50 and K70 for a 50kg bag of maize.
Mr Zimba noted that the 2020/2021 farming season was just a few months away and farmers would find it difficult to buy fertiliser at K500 per 50 kilogramme bag if they offloaded their produce now at low prices.
“We are calling upon the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) to be proactive and alive to this situation, and immediately move in and arrest the perpetrators that are short-changing farmers.
“ZABS should confiscate the commodity which these buyers are purchasing above the 12.5 percent moisture content, which they are using as an excuse to underpay farmers. The ZNFU is also appealing to Government to assist halt the sale of maize until the marketing window opens,” he said.
Mr Zimba said that Government’s efforts under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) to lift the majority of rural farmers out of poverty would be in vain if briefcase buyers went about underpaying farmers.
He called on traditional leaders to advise their subjects to exercise patience and not sell their maize cheaply.
“As ZNFU we are doing our utmost best to advise farmers to stop selling their maize prematurely or below cost of production. However, this challenge needs concerted efforts by all stakeholders.
“This is not what free market is about, no one should fold their arms and watch while these briefcase buyers inject poverty in our farmers, this is criminal,” Mr Zimba stressed.
He commended Copperbelt Minister, Japhen Mwakalombe, for stopping briefcase buyers from exploiting farmers.
Mr Zimba implored other provincial ministers and Members of Parliament to emulate Mr Mwakalombe.
During the 2019 marketing season the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) pegged K110 per 50kg bag of white maize.
The FRA also fixed the price of a 50kg bag of soya beans at K150 and 40kg bag of paddy rice at K70. – ZANIS.

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