Government has launched the 2014-2015 crop marketing season on the Copperbelt province.
And the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) says the delay in opening the crop-marketing season in parts of the province where the crop moisture content was still high will result in financial loss to the country.
Luanshya District Commissioner Harold Mbaulu says the 2014-2015 crop-marketing seasons has taken off in Luanshya, Masaiti and Mpongwe districts, respectively.
Mr Mbaulu warned fraudsters during the marketing season that government will not take them kindly in this years’ crop marketing season arising from what transpired in the past seasons.
ZANIS in Luanshya reports that the District Commissioner said this during a training and induction exercise of depots clerks for Luanshya, Masaiti and Mpongwe districts respectively, today.
He said that law enforcement agencies in the three districts were on high alert, warning that any officers found wanting would be dealt with severely.
He noted that government was aware of the many constraints that FRA and other players in maize marketing in the district were facing challenges such as inadequate storage facilities, poor state of some feeder roads and bridges, among others.
He however stated that these constraints were already receiving government attention.
The District Commissioner further commended the FRA for undertaking a training and induction exercise of depots clerks for three districts attended by Mpongwe District Commissioner George Nsali, his District Agriculture Coordinator Ken Mweemba with his Luanshya counterpart Misheck Jere in Luanshya.
The training workshop was aimed at equipping the clerks with knowledge and tools for managing crop marketing affairs during this season.
And FRA Copperbelt province Provincial Coordinator Limbikani Mhango says the delay in opening the crop marketing season in areas where the crop moisture content was still high would lead to financial lose to his agency and government in general.
Mr. Mhango explained that the exercise might delay in some areas as a result of crop moisture content was still higher than 12.5 percent which may cause easy deterioration of stocks in storage.
He said this year FRA will buy crops using last year’s purchase prices of K65 per 50 kilogram bag of maize and K60 by 40 Kilogram bag of paddy rice which will be applied uniformly countrywide.
He further disclosed that the national Purchase target quantities for this year was 500, 000 metric tonnes of maize, 2,100 metric tonnes of paddy rice and that Luanshya was targeted for 450 metric tonnes, Masaiti 2,400 metric tonnes and Mpongwe with 3,00 metric tonnes of maize.
Government through the ministry of agriculture provided the need resources to procure the national crop requirements for this year and announced the 2014-2015 FRA crop purchasing exercise to run from 1st June, 2014 to 31st October 2014.
However some parts of the country have not yet commenced the exercise due to high moisture content in the crops.