News

FRA pays Central farmers K25.2 million

By CHAMBO NG’UNI and MWILA NTAMBI
THE Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has paid out K25.2 million to farmers in Central Province for the maize supplied to the agency in the ongoing crop marketing season.
And farmers in Luano have urged FRA to deliver adequate tarpaulins to satellite depots to ensure maize does not get soaked by rains.
Central Province FRA marketing co-ordinator Timothy Chanda said in an interview yesterday that FRA has bought over 900,000 bags of maize, which is above the targeted 450,000 metric tonnes, which it intends to purchase in the region.
“We met the target a month ago and we have paid K25,286,900 to farmers and we are still buying maize from [them]. Our initial target was 450,000 metric tonnes but we have gone over this target,” Mr Chanda said.
He assured people in the region that the maize that FRA has bought is secure and it will not go to waste.
Mr Chanda was reacting to concerns by farmers in Mkushi and Luano district about lack of tarpaulins at satellite depots.
He said FRA has enough storage facilities in the region and has delivered adequate tarpaulins to satellite depots.
Mr Chanda said maize at satellite depots was not soaked despite Mkushi and Luano districts experiencing showers last Tuesday.
“The report that I have received from Mkushi is that the maize was covered. The grain that could have been soaked a bit is that which belongs to the farmers,” Mr Chanda said.
He said FRA has provided each satellite depot with three tarpaulins and these are adequate to cover 20,000 bags of maize before the grain is transported to the main storage depot.
He said empty grain bags are quickly finishing because of the overwhelming response from farmers selling their maize to FRA.
FRA targeted to buy 225,000 bags of maize in Mkushi and Luano but that it has bought 566,488 bags as at last Tuesday.
And Mufulira district commissioner Chanda Kabwe has described as excellent the timely delivery of farm inputs for this year’s farming season.
Mr Kabwe said in an interview that farmers are happy with the timely distribution of farm inputs because it is the first time Government is doing so.
“Farmers are happy because this has never happened before. They have now realised that Government values their welfare. We received these inputs by the end of July,” he said.
Mr Kabwe said Government has so far delivered 15,374 bags of compound D fertiliser to Mufulira out of the 15,457 allocated to the district.
“So the balance is 83×50 bags and we are also waiting to receive top dressing fertiliser which I believe will also be delivered in good time,” Mr Kabwe said.
Mr Kabwe said the timely delivery of farm inputs will help to enhance national food security.
“This tells you that Government is committed to reducing poverty and increasing national food security. All our farmers need to do is to work hard and ensure that the country records another bumper harvest,” Mr Kabwe said.



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