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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Zambia farmers reject maize floor price   

LUSAKA, (Xinhua) -- Farmers in Zambia on Monday rejected the floor price of maize announced by the state agency, saying it was disingenuous.

Last Friday, the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) announced that it will be buying a 50 kilogram bag of maize at 65 Zambian Kwacha (about 6.5 U.S dollars) when the marketing season starts next month.

It added that the price was arrived at after consultation with all stakeholders, including farmers.

But Jervis Zimba, the president of the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU), said farmers have rejected the announced price as they were not consulted and the farmers’ body never attended any meeting.

“At no time was the setting of maize price discussed. The union has not met the FRA to discuss maize prices after last year’s efforts yielded a blank. The ZNFU wishes to dissociate itself from being party to the announced FRA price which farmers have been offered,” he said in a statement.

He added that the farmers’ body will launch a formal complaint with the government over the matter and has advised farmers to find alternative markets for the maize.

According to him, the country has recorded a decline in maize production from 3.6 million tonnes in 2017 to 2.3 million tonnes in 2018 due to poor prices being offered by the government.

Hakainde Hichilema, the country’s leading opposition leader, said the announced price was a mockery to the farmers as it was low and unprofitable.

He said in a statement that the announced price was a clear indication that the government was not sincere in its plans to diversify the economy from copper dependence.

Zambian President Edgar Lungu has since directed the agency to review and adjust upwards the price of maize as it was unfair to the farmers, according to state media.

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