The pace at which maize is being bought by FRA, the Food Reserve Agency from farmers in Eastern Province is slow.
This may provide a challenge to FRA in meeting the 160 thousand metric tonnes target of maize that the agency intends to buy from farmers in the province.
Eastern Province Permanent Secretary, Chanda Kasolo says FRA is facing problems in buying maize because most farmers have sold their produce to private buyers.
Mr. Kasolo also told a media Briefing yesterday that some farmers are holding on to the maize because they are being cheated by some politicians that the maize buying price will be increased again.
He however, says FRA will manage to buy enough maize or even exceed the target because no maize will be allowed to be exported to other countries.
Mr. Kasolo says government will not increase the buying price further to compare with prices in other countries because FRA has its own market.
And Mr. Kasolo says smuggling of maize and mealie-meal is still a challenge in the province due to the porousness of the borders.
He confirmed that rumours suggesting that ZNS, Zambia National Service officers are being compromised by accepting bribes from smugglers.