The Food Reserve Agency FRA has so far purchased 396,000 by 50 kilogrammes bags of maize in Eastern Province.
FRA Provincial Marketing Officer, Felix Moyo has told Breeze News that this is from a target of 720,000 bags, which are supposed to be bought from the region.
Mr. Moyo says that so far, the agency has recorded an overwhelming response from farmers, which has seen FRA increasing the number of satellite depots in four districts.
These are Chipata where depots have been increased by two and Chadiza, Lundazi and Chama where depots have been increased by one.
Meanwhile Mr. Moyo says that no satellite depot in Eastern Province including Chadiza district has run out of empty grain bags.
He says that each of the depots was given 8,000 empty grain bags and that none of the depots has bought more than 8,000 bags of maize from farmers.
And FRA Quality Controller, Clyde Muuza has advised farmers to ensure that they properly clean their maize before taking it to the depots.
Mr. Muuza says that the agency is emphasising on cleaned maize to ensure that the process of buying the produce is smooth.
He further stated that FRA is only buying maize produced in the 2016-2017 farming season.
Chewa Chiefs from Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia, have started arriving at Mkaika Chewa Headquarters in Katete district, for the 2017 Kulamba Traditional Ceremony.
Kulamba Ceremony Organizing Committee treasurer, Chief Chanje, confirmed this to Breeze News.
Chief Chanje says senior Chief Lukwa and others from Malawi arrived yesterday, while from Mozambique, Chiefs Chimwala, Kaduku and others are also already at Mkaika.
He says the rest of the Chewa Chiefs from the three countries are expected to arrive today, in readiness for rehearsals and selection of dances to perform on Saturday.
Chief Chanje says preparations have reached advanced stage, with only last touches remaining.
Meanwhile, Chief Chanje has urged motorists ferrying people to Mkaika, to follow traffic rules such as avoiding over speeding and driving while drunk.
He says this will help prevent accidents.
The Zambia National Farmers Union, ZNFU, has accused the FRA of swindling farmers through its insistency on maintaining the buying price at 60 Kwacha per 50 kilogram bag of maize.
ZNFU President, Jervis Zimba, says the low prices are a clear demonstration of how farmers are being swindled by a government institution.
This is according to a statement issued to Breeze News.
Mr. Zimba says FRA is pegging the price of maize at below the cost of production when it is supposed to balance the prices, both for mealie meal and maize production.
He also warned farmers that have supplied maize to FRA that they have done so at their own risk, as the agency has been classified as a briefcase buyer this year.
Mr. Zimba says FRA is not buying maize, but actually swindling farmers, as the agency is not even paying cash.
He says ZNFU is aware that some farmers will be deceived with few early payments, but farmers will only get paid after four or five months.
Mr. Zimba says buying maize at 60 Kwacha will subject farmers to abject poverty, as they will be unable to meet most of their family needs.
The Chipata Magistrate Court this morning discharged a case involving a female juvenile of Chipata district, on one count of child desertion, contrary to the laws of Zambia.
The case which was before Magistrate Philp Mphundu was discharged after the state made an application that the case be discharged.
Facts of the matter are that the juvenile, on dates unknown, but in May 2017, jointly and while acting together with her mother, deserted a child and left it without means of support.
The mother of the Juvenile is currently serving a 10 months sentence over the same case.
The duo allegedly abandoned a new baby in the nearby bush, which was concealed in a chitenge material and tied in a sack.
The baby was taken to the hospital for care by members of the community, while the two were apprehended.
According to investigations, the accused took the baby into the bush on pretext that the baby was dead and left it unattended.
Magistrate Mphundu has however, warned the juvenile not to repeat her mistake and ordered that she be taken to the Social Welfare office for counselling.
The juvenile’s mother was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment with hard labour on July 11th 2017, after admitting to the offence.