The opposition Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) says there is need to seriously plan the future of the Agriculture sector if poverty in Zambia is to be eradicated.
FDD President Edith Nawakwi says it is no longer necessary for government to continue abusing farmers by pretending that the floor price for crops such as maize, currently set at K75 per 50kg bag, is a lot of money when in fact the exchange rate is K8 plus per US Dollar.
Ms. Nawakwi is of the view that given how long government takes to pay farmers, it is possible that by the time farmers will be getting their money, the K75 being offered by government would have lost value.
She has tells Qfm News that it is high time the Ministry of Agriculture through the Marketing division begun coming up with the exact cost of producing a 50kg bag of maize before the floor price is set.
Ms. Nawakwi states this is because the FDD party does not think a 50kg bag of maize should cost as low as K75.
She points out that at Nakonde border for instance, Kenyan and Tanzanian nationals are camping to buy Zambian maize at K120 per 50Kg bag.
Ms. Nawakwi says if President Edgar Lungu had time for Zambian farmers, he should have put this into consideration before announcing the adjustment in the maize floor price from the initial K70 to K75 per 50kg bag.
She says President Lungu should have in fact requested the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to sign a contract with the Kenyan government in order to give Zambian farmers a benefit of a higher price in Kenya.
The FDD President believes this would have also addressed the issue of farmers in Zambia selling their produce to briefcase buyers at very low prices.
She says the present situation where farmers selling their crop to briefcase farmers for as low as K40 per 50kg bag of maize as a result of the delay in announcing the maize floor price amounts to robbery.