Sinazongwe District Commissioner Dodo Sindaza has disclosed that the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) intends to purchase 1, 300 tonnes of white maize in the during this year’s crop marketing season.
Mr Sindaza said that the 1,300 metric tonnes which is equivalent to 26,000 by 50 kg bags targeted by FRA under the 2014 crop marketing season indicates an increase in the projected purchase compared to the previous season’s 900 metric tons (18,000 by 50 kg bags).
He said FRA purchased 1,075.8 metric tonnes during the 2013 crop marketing season which was way above the target for Sinazongwe District
Mr Sindaza was speaking during the training of FRA field officers for the 2014 crop marketing season held at Kaluli Development Foundation (KDF) in Sinazongwe District yesterday.
He said the training conducted by FRA is aimed at providing guidance to satellite depot commodity checkers, warehouse and data entry supervisors on the modalities of the crop marketing exercise.
He noted that FRA last year failed to buy the projected target of 52,276 metric tonnes but only purchased 38,878.45 metric tonnes due to fraudulent activities by staff during the crop marketing season.
Mr Sindaza said such practices are criminal and illegal adding that any officer found wanting will be arrested and face the law accordingly.
He further warned that government will not condone maize going to waste and implored FRA staff to perform to expected standards .
He added that FRA officers should ensure that maize is moved to storage facilities before the next rain season especially in areas that are impassable during rainy season.
Mr Sindaza said a lot of money had been invested in the purchasing of marketing equipment such as platform scales for weighing of all bags before they are received and officers were expected to adhere to procedures and crop purchasing modalities.
Mr Sindaza said FRA had already secured grain bags and scales that would be transported in good time to designated satellite depots so that as soon as the moisture content in maize reach required levels, purchasing would be commenced.
He also advised farmers to be cautious of brief-case business men and women who may exploit them.