Business

State urged to address late payment for maize farmers

TRYNESS MBALE, Lusaka
ZAMSEED Limited has called on Government to address issues affecting farmers such as late payment for maize supplied to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to ensure sustained growth in the agriculture sector .
Company board chairperson Lloyd Ching’ambo said delayed payment to farmers who supply maize to FRA, coupled with late onset of rains in the 2014/15 farming season, will badly affect crop production this year.
During a Zamseed field day on Friday, Professor Ching’ambo said despite Government’s continued support to agriculture in various ways, there are still a number of issues that negatively affect the steady growth of the sector.
“We are grateful that Government has continued to render support to agriculture in various ways, providing economic sustenance to a significant proportion of the population both directly and through other participation in the value chain whose origin is rooted in agriculture. Good positioning of Government in relation to agriculture, some issues militating against sustained progress area are allowed to creep in.
“We appreciate that Government always has competing demand on a limited resource packet, but it is important to ensure that the agriculture sector is funded. We would urge the minister of Agriculture and Livestock that such negativity on the farmer should be avoided at all cost to ensure sustained growth in the sector,” he said.
He said last year, several farmers were unable to buy seed and other inputs for the 2014/15 farming season due to FRA’s delayed payments.
Prof Ching’ambo also said the company, which is a provider of seed to the farming communities through the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), has not yet been paid for the inputs supplied in the 2014/15 farming season and it might impair the ability for the firm.
At the same occasion, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Given Lubinda said Zamseed has continued to play a key role in the sector by assisting Government in its quest to promote diversification through provision of a  range of crop seeds.
Mr Lubinda said this in a speech read for him by Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock director Shadreck Mungalaba.
He, however, urged farmers to take advantage of the technology of improved seed by the company to boost their production.

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