The Movement for Multi-Party Democracy MMD has challenged government to explain clearly how it arrived at the maize floor price of 60 Kwacha for a 50 kilogramme bag.
MMD National Chairperson for Agriculture Chishala Chilufya says that government should further assist farmers by providing information on maize production costs for last season.
Speaking to Breeze News, Mr. Chilufya says that it is important for government to realise that not all farmers benefited from the government subsidised inputs.
He says that farmers, who used their own resources to buy inputs which were fetching between 250 and 300 Kwacha will not make profit from the 60 Kwacha buying price.
Mr. Chilufya says that instead of frustrating farmers, government should ensure that the interest of farmers is protected by giving them a good buying price.
Announcing the maize floor price yesterday, FRA Food Reserve Agency Board Chairperson, Joe Simachela said that prices for this year’s marketing season was as a result of prevailing regional prices in view of the good harvests expected from Zambia’s traditional export markets such as Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique.
Mr. Simachela, stated that the FRA market price will not in any way disadvantage the private sector, who are expected to purchase a larger share of the 3.6 million metric tonnes of maize produced.
Last season, the FRA was buying a 50 kilogramme bag of maize at 85 Kwacha.
About 200 people in Chanida border in Chadiza District will soon be connected to water supply from EWSC, Eastern Water and Sewerage Company.
EWSC Managing Director Layton Kanowa, says the installation of water pumps and construction of kiosks and ablution blocks at a total cost of 15.7 million Kwacha, is expected to be completed in the next three weeks.
Mr. Kanowa says the project which is at 90 percent is aimed at providing more people with safe drinking water in the province.
Speaking when Chadiza Member of Parliament Salatiel Tembo toured the project yesterday, Mr. Kanowa says the company still needs support from government to connect more people, because the supply of the water in the area will attract more developers.
Mr. Kanowa says the company needs about 3 million kwacha to cover more than 450 people in Chanida area.
Mr. Kanowa further indicated that the company has a deficit of about 40 percent of potential customers in Eastern Province, who not connected to the utility company’s water supply system.
And Chadiza Member of Parliament Salatiel Tembo says he will engage relevant authorities to lobby for resources for the completion of the project.
Mr. Tembo says the works done by the company will greatly help people in Chanida border area, who are having challenges in accessing safe drinking water.
He says more developmental projects are expected to be implemented due to the reliable supply of water by the utility company in the area.
Chipata District Farmers Association CDFA has described as a mockery the 60 Kwacha maize floor price for a 50 kilogramme bag, announced by FRA, the Food Reserve Agency.
CDFA Coordinator, Virgil Malambo says that the price does not make business sense especially that last season FRA bought the maize at 85 Kwacha.
Mr. Malambo says that although there is over production of Zambia’s staple food, the cost of producing the maize was high because of high prices for fertilizer.
He says that government should revisit its decision to assist farmers, who might lose out because of the high production cost.
Mr. Malambo doubted if the farmers can use the 60 Kwacha maize floor price to bargain for a better buying price, with private companies, who are buying the crop at 75 Kwacha for a 50 kilogramme bag.
And Mr. Malambo has advised farmers to start diversifying from growing maize to other crops to avoid such disappointment.
He says that the farmers should also think of adding value to their maize crop like producing mealie meal and stock feed for chickens and livestock.