Petauke farmers hold on to their maize

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SOME farmers in Chief Mwanjabantu’s area in Petauke are holding on to their stocks of maize until the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) starts paying those who have already supplied the commodity to it.
The farmers said they have been disappointed by FRA as it takes long to pay them after they supply maize to the agency, situation they said has negatively affected their agricultural activities.
One of the farmers, Sauli Phiri, said FRA should find a better way of paying farmers before the onset of the rains so that they can prepare for the next farming season.
“I have 750 bags of maize at home but I can’t sell them to FRA because they don’t pay us on time, I will wait until they bring the money,” he said.
Mr Phiri said some farmers have opted to sell their maize to other traders in Lusaka who pay them immediately.
Willies Zimba also said FRA should pay the farmers on time so that they can start buying inputs for the coming farming season.
But FRA executive director Chola Kafwabulula said the agency has revised the way of paying farmers after they supply their maize to it.
Mr Kafwabulula said FRA will now be paying farmers within 10 days after supplying the commodity to the agency.
“In the old system, we were paying farmers much later than 10 days, but in this particular system, we should be able to pay within 10 days,” he said.
Mr Kafwabulula also said Government has given K37 million to FRA for payment to farmers who have supplied maize to the agency during this year’s crop-marketing season.
He said the money has been deposited in the FRA account and that the agency will soon start paying farmers who have supplied maize to it.
“As we are talking right know, part of the money is in the FRA account, so within 10 days we should be able to pay the farmers,” he said.

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