TRYNESS TEMBO, Lusaka
THE National Union for Small- scale Farmers of Zambia (NUSFAZ) with support from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has earmarked US$20,000 for a programme aimed at promoting farming as a business.
Over 10,000 farmers from Eastern, Northern and North-Western provinces are expected to benefit from the agricultural programme this year.
The two organisations are developing a manual that will guide farmers to take farming as a business and how to price their crops to earn a profit.
NUSFAZ director general Frank Kayula said in an interview last week that the funds will be channelled towards the development of a manual book and for skill training in aquaculture and growing of vegetables.
“We have received financial support from ILO to train farmers in 10 districts of Eastern, Northern and North-Western provinces worth US$20,000 for the initial pilot programme and are willing to scale it up,” Dr Kayula said.
The implementation of the programme will involve the training of 30 trainers, farming methods and business skills to ensure their survival.
Commenting on the 2017/18 marketing season, Dr Kayula commended Government for not setting the floor price as this will enable farmers to come up with a suitable price as they understand the cost involved in cultivating their crops.
This follows President Lungu’s directive that Government will no longer dictate the price of maize and allow farmers and market forces to determine the price of the commodity to encourage productivity among farmers.
He, however, urged the private buyers on the open market to consider revising the price being offered to farmers to create a win-win situation.
Currently, some private buyers are offering a price range of K30- K40 for a 50-kilogramme bag of maize.
This year, the Food Reserve Agency has reduced satellite depots from 1,223 to 760 countrywide to allow more private sector participation and will only buy 500,000 tonnes of maize for strategic reserves.