Business Headlines

‘Maize stock reserves enough’

ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka
THE Food Reserve Agency (FRA) is strictly controlling the maize sold to millers to ensure that the stocks last up to this year’s crop-marketing season despite selling over 700,000 tonnes to them.
With the stock bought from FRA by millers, still being secured in the reserves, the agency has an additional 200,000 tonnes of maize that is for national strategic reserves.
In an interview recently, FRA executive director Chola Kafwabulula said the agency has secured over 200,000 tonnes that has been not committed yet.
Mr Kafwabulula, however, said the agency will only be off-loading a portion of maize owed to millers on a monthly basis for accountability purposes.
“We have about 700,000 metric tonnes of maize that will take us [country] up to June this year. With this 700,000 tonnes, we have signed contracts with millers who we are giving a certain amount of maize on a monthly basis [for them to produce mealie-meal for the local consumption].
“We are actually controlling [what is being off-loaded to the millers just to bring in some sanity] …We have got another 200,000 which is not committed. Now when we are in June, we would have already started buying the new maize stock,” he said.
Mr Kafwabulula said FRA has already put in place some intervention to enable the agency to buy maize early in this year’s crop-marketing season from farmers.
“What we intend to do this year is that we will not wait for the moisture content to be at 12.4 percent. When we are buying maize from [remote areas] we buy them in open fields and we do not transport them immediately to the shed. The maize is kept out in the open even for about three months before it is transported and this gives us an advantage to buy the crop even at 12.9 percent just to secure our reserves,” he said.
Recently, President Lungu announced that Zambia may consider importing maize just as a precaution measure in case the country experiences a bad harvest.



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