STEVEN MVULA, Lusaka
THE Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) has maintained that it will continue urging farmers to hold on to their maize despite threats of court action by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA).
Last week, FRA executive director Chola Kafwabulula threatened to drag ZNFU to court for urging farmers to hold on to their maize so that they do not sell the commodity to the agency.
But in a statement yesterday, ZNFU second vice-president Austin Shinachize said no amount of pressure or threats will stop farmers from getting a good price for their crop because they need to regenerate money for further investments.
“We as farmers are the owners of the commodity [maize], and we are ready to be sued for refusing to sell our crop for a pittance. The buyer cannot dictate the price at which to buy the crop. The producer, the seller should,” Mr Shinachize said.
He said the best route FRA can take is to re-negotiate the price of maize with farmers, failure to which they will continue holding on to the commodity.
“If FRA thinks the solution lies in the court process, we are ready to face them. But as far as ZNFU is concerned, we are still waiting for a meeting with the Minister of Agriculture whom we wrote a letter to so that the farmers’ cry can be heard,” he said.
There has been a stand-off between FRA and ZNFU over the K60 price for a 50kg bag of maize.