MWILA NTAMBI, Mwinilunga
MWINILUNGA district agriculture coordinator Bwalya Ponga says the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has so far managed to buy only 1,005 x 50 kilogrammes bags of maize out of the targeted 109, 000x 50 kilogrammes of maize.
Mr Ponga said in an interview in Mwinilunga last week that the exercise of buying maize has been slow in the area because most farmers still hope the purchase price will be adjusted upwards.
He said some farmers have also opted to sell their maize directly to millers, while others are hoarding it.
“The maize-buying exercise in our district has been quite slow because most farmers seem to have taken a ‘wait-and-see’ approach. We are really hoping the exercise will soon pick up,” Mr Ponga said.
He said the district recorded about 268, 000 x 50 kilogrammes of maize during the 2016/2017 farming season and that the electronic voucher [e-voucher] system was implemented successfully, despite a few hiccups.
Mr Ponga said 8,338 farmers were targeted to receive inputs under the e-voucher system, but only 8,210 were successfully distributed, as some were replicated.
However, he said a few corrections had been made on the cards that had issues and that the same number of farmers [8,338] is being targeted this year.
And Mr Ponga said cassava production in the district has gone up from 422, 000 metric tonnes recorded the other season to 549 000 metric tonnes this season.
He said the increase in cassava production is good because it is in line with Government’s crop diversification agenda.
Mr Ponga said there is a ready market