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By David Chisanga
The Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has continued buying Grade A white maize from farmers countrywide to enhance Zambia’s food security.
So far, the government agency had purchased close to 600,000 metric tons of the staple food, recording an achievement percentage of close to 200 percent.
“The Agency, as at Thursday, 2nd September, 2021, purchased a total of 594,556.96 metric tons (MTs) of Grade A white maize during this year’s on-going crop marketing season,” said FRA Public Relations Co-ordinator John Chipandwe in a statement.
Mr Chipandwe noted that the purchased quantity was against FRA’s maize purchase target for the current crop marketing season.
“The purchased quantity (594,556.96MTs) is against this year’s Agency maize purchase target of 500,000MTs, implying a percentage achievement rate of 118.91 percent,” he said.
Mr Chipandwe explained that the latest purchased quantity was equivalent to 11,891,139 by 50-kilogram (kg) bags of white maize worth K1, 783,670,850.00.
“The Agency has continued paying farmers that have delivered their crops and is expecting additional funding from the Ministry of Finance,” he added.
Earlier, Mr Chipandwe disclosed that FRA had already paid out K1,211,521,500 to small-scale farmers who supplied maize in the current crop marketing season.
Meanwhile, the FRA Public Relations Co-ordinator encouraged farmers to continue selling maize to the government agency until October month-end.
“FRA wishes to assure farmers countrywide that it will continue buying Grade ‘A’ white maize even though the maize purchase target has been exceeded and that farmers should continue delivering their crops to any nearest depot,” he said.
Mr Chipandwe also reminded farmers to clean their crops before taking them to depots to ease the purchasing process.
“The marketing season will close by 31 st October, 2021 as per FRA crop marketing calendar and farmers are reminded to ensure that they clean their crops before delivering to any depot as this will save on time spent at a depot as the Agency will only screen and receive their crop,” he stressed.