Government, through the Food Reserve Agency (FRA), has distributed 340,000 empty grain bags to Kazungula, Zimba and Livingstone districts for the years marketing season.
Kazungula Assistant Marketing Officer Joseph Mweemba told ZANIS in an interview today that government has distributed the bags in readiness for the commencement of the 2013 maize marketing exercise.
Government will announce dates for commencement of this year’s maize marketing season in the near future.
Mr. Mweemba said the agency is expected to set up 18 maize satellite depots and purchase more than 340,000 by 50 kilogram bags of maize from farmers.
He also said the maize moisture monitoring exercise conducted yesterday in most parts of the three districts indicate 10.3 per cent moisture.
The moisture content is however 13.4 per cent in other areas. This is higher than the recommended maize moisture content of 12.5 per cent before it is purchased.
The FRA was supposed to commence the purchasing of maize on June 10, this year but the 13.96 per cent moisture content obtained in most parts of the country forced government to delay the exercise until maize moisture content reaches the desired levels of 12.5 per cent or lower.
Buying maize with the moisture content of 12.5 per cent is necessary to minimise post-harvest storage losses.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mweemba has disclosed that some areas of Kazungula had poor maize harvests due to erratic rains.
He however said the initial assessment indicates that some farmers will have enough maize for domestic consumption and surplus for sell.
Last year, the FRA bought about 340,000 bags of maize from farmers in Kazungula and Livingstone districts alone.