MONICA KAYOMBO, Ndola
THE Food Reserve Agency (FRA) is this year earmarked to purchase 14,780 metric tonnes of maize on the Copperbelt, and this will be on first come, first
Provincial Agriculture coordinator Obvious Kabinda said in an interview that the decision is based on the data of production figures from Central Statistical Office.
“In case people have excess maize for sale, they can sell to reputable private dealers,’’ he said.
He said Government is not encouraging people to rush to sell their maize to enhance domestic food security.
“The first thing they must look at is how secure their families are, and also see if what they have produced will see them through to the coming season, then the excess is what they can go and sell,’’ he said.
And Dr Kabinda said Copperbelt will this year have 40 depots. Last year there were 87 in the province.
He said the decision to have less maize depots this year was reached following a statement by Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya on July 11, 2017, in which she announced that the number of satellite depots across the country would drop by 33 percent.
Ms Siliya told Parliament that FRA intended to purchase 500,000 metric tonnes of maize across the country, and that the price of maize should reflect the full cost of purchase, transport storage and fumigation in the 2017/2018 marketing season.
“The FRA has 865,000 metric tonnes of secure storage. The carry-over stocks account for 230,000 metric tonnes of the total capacity,’’ Ms Siliya said.
Government has since appealed to private traders to actively participate in maize marketing and fill up the void that FRA will leave.