Gender Gender

Expedite payment for maize, State urged

ARTHUR MWANSA, Lusaka
ZAMBIA Federation of Associations of Women in Business (ZFAWIB) has joined the Zambia National farmers Union (ZNFU) in calling on Government to expedite the payment of maize sold to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) if the country is to continue recording a maize bumper harvest.
ZFAWIB Chief Executive Officer Maureen Sumbwe said in an interview recently that Government should also advise farmers, especially those in rural areas to consider growing other alternative crops that could be sold to FRA apart from maize.
Ms Sumbwe said “Paying farmers should be a priority. This should be done as soon as farmers deliver maize to FRA so that they can adequately prepare for the next farming season”.
She said Government’s delay to pay some farmers who supplied maize to FRA has also resulted in most of them failing to pay for the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), a programme that has provided fertilizer and seed at subsidised prices to farmers since 2002.
“Most farmers are failing to even buy alternative income generating crops because they are not paid their dues in time. Farmers, especially those in rural areas must find alternative crops which could be sold elsewhere, apart from FRA. Economic empowerment can only be achieved through the promotion of other value chain crops such as cassava and groundnuts,” Ms Sumbwe said.
Recently the ZNFU said Government’s delays to pay some farmers who have supplied maize to FRA has negatively affected farmers in adequately preparing for the 2014/2015 farming season.

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