—-Farmers in Kaputa District, who sold their maize to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA), have threatened to withdraw their maize if the agency does not pay them their dues in
The farmers, who stormed the District Commissioner’s office, said they are not happy that FRA has continued to delay to give them their money.
Speaking on behalf of other farmers, Arnold Chansa said the farmers are upset that the agency has failed to pay them their dues since August when they sold their maize.
Mr Chansa, who is from Kalaba Satellite Depot, said the farmers are now contemplating withdrawing their bags of maize from the agency so that they could start selling in small quantities at the market.
He noted that there is a demand for maize at the market and the farmers who did not sell all their maize to the agency are now selling the commodities in 10 kilogram, adding that it also fetches the same price as that of FRA.
Mr Chansa added that the farmers will soon organize and come to the DCs office to get letters to allow them withdraw their bags of maize from the FRA sheds.
Another farmer from Kaputa Central Satellite, Jackson Chipili, said the delay by the FRA to pay them their money has caused untold misery to them.
Mr Chipili said their children have been chased from school while they cannot start preparing for the next farming season as they do not have money to hire people from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo to plough for them.
He complained that there are no animals in Kaputa and the farmers depend on oxen from the DR Congo to help them plough their fields, adding that the Congolese only accept to work when there is cash.
He added that the farmers are also expected to buy fertilizer but the delay means they cannot get fertilizer from the Ministry of Agriculture where cash is also demanded.
But Kaputa District Administrative Officer (DAO), Alick Kampamba, explained to farmers that they cannot withdraw their maize from the FRA as they already entered into an agreement.
Mr Kampamba, however, urged the farmers to be patient, saying government is aware of their cry and will pay them their dues.
He assured the farmers that the district administration will follow the matter with the FRA to know when the agency is likely to pay them.