Chief Madzimawe of the Ngoni people of Eastern Province has called on the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to start mobilizing funds for the purchase of crops for the 2012/2013 marketing season.
Chief Madzimawe charged that it would be irresponsible for FRA to start scouting for funds when the marketing season commences saying the situation inconveniences farmers who sell maize to the Agency.
The Traditional Leader said this in a telephone interview with ZANIS in Chipata yesterday.
Chief Madzimawe said it was not in order to engage the Minister of Agriculture to intervene in the scouting of the monies for buying maize from farmers each time the crop marketing season was in process.
Meanwhile, Chief Madzimawe has urged the Food Reserve Agency to consider opening
the crop marketing season on time to protect farmers from unscrupulous buyers.
Chief Madzimawe noted that FRA often opens the crop marketing season late thereby exposing farmers to unscrupulous maize dealers.
And Chief Madzimawe disclosed that some farmers in his chiefdom failed to access farming inputs under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) on time, saying this situation had the potential to affect yields for 2012/13 farming season.
Chief Madzimawe however remained optismistic that despite this development, farmers in his chiefdom would still produce enough yields to sustain them.
He further appealed to FRA to ensure that it purchases the maize from farmers so that they could access it in mealie meal form in case of a hunger situation.
”It is not that we are demanding for relief food but that the maize be bought on time by FRA so that people can be able to buy mealie meal when they run out of maize” he added.
He said even with the erratic supply of farming inputs people in his chiefdom, farmers would be able to harvest maize and would not demand for relief food but that people should have somewhere to buy melie meal from if there were any shortages.
Meanwhile, Chief Madzimawe has advised his subjects to desist from selling maize to unscrupulous maize buyers during the 2012/13 marketing season.
The Traditional Leader said farmers should not desperately sell their produce but wait for Government’s announcement of the floor price of maize for the 2012/2013 marketing season and also for FRA to open the crop marketing season.
Chief Madzimawe stated that as much as he appreciated that his subjects required basic needs like sending children to school they should not fall prey to exploitative dealers.
He advised farmers to have patience and only sale when FRA opened the crop markets for them to sell their produce.
Chief Madzimawe further implored farmers not to sell all their maize but reserve some for their consumption.