-Government has hinted positive response towards addressing the challenge of crop storage infrastructure in Mkushi district.
Agriculture Minister Robert Sichinga said that construction plans were underway to transform 98 Slabs into storage sheds in several parts of the country.
Mr Sichinga said that Mkushi district was likely to be considered in these projects as his ministry was aware that the district was facing critical challenges regarding storage facilities.
He said that in view of such plans, there was need for consistent exchange of data plans and data between Mkushi District Administration and the Ministry of Agriculture in order to ensure that the storage infrastructures are located at ideal sites.
He said that to add to such interventions, government was seriously considering facilitating for the installation of processing Mills to be decentralized into locations beyond the line of rail.
In a related contribution, Mkushi District Commissioner Christopher Chibuye revealed that the main Food Reserve Agency (FRA) storage shed in Mkushi had a capacity of 40,000 metric tonnes.
Mr Chibuye said that out of this capacity, 9,000 metric tonnes storage space had been rented out to agro-related firms such as Nyiombo Investments and Greenbelt Fertilisers.
He said that the FRA had a total of 23 satellite depots in the district, adding that all these had been operational during the last marketing season.
Mr Chibuye however, noted that storage space and infrastructure posed a major challenge to maize marketing operations in the district.
Mr Chibuye also noted that the FRA had performed admirably on issuing prompt payments to Farmers who had sold maize to that agency.
He said that a total of 2,231 Farmers had sold the maize to the FRA in the district, saying that the FRA had purchased a total of 199,421 bags of maize from these farmers.
He said that the FRA had in turn disbursed K12,962,365 towards paying these farmers for the transaction.
Agriculture Minister Robert Sichinga was in Mkushi to inspect the FISP distribution performance in the area.