– Senior Chief Shakumbila of the Saala speaking people in Mumbwa district has advised all the Village Headmen in his chiefdom to report unscrupulous villagers harbouring briefcase traders that were going round buying maize at a cheaper price.
Senior Chief Shakumbila vowed that no grain should leave the Shakumbila chiefdom adding that if the situation is left unchecked there would be hunger in his chiefdom.
The chief observed that briefcase traders mainly from the line of rail in Lusaka, the Copperbelt and Southern provinces have invaded his chiefdom buying the maize very cheaply hence the need for the Village Headmen to be wary of the briefcase traders.
He was speaking in an interview with ZANIS in Lusaka today.
“I have issued specific instructions to all the Village Headmen in my chiefdom to keep vigil on the briefcase traders that are going round buying the maize at a cheaper price.
No grain should leave this chiefdom or else there will be hunger and l don’t want that to happen. I’m aware of some people who are harbouring these businessmen and women that are going round and buying maize at a cheaper price than the set KR65,” Chief Shakumbila.
The traditional leader has advised farmers to wait for the government through the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to set the 2012/2013 marketing price for the 50 kilogram bag of maize noting that some farmers were selling their produce lower than KR65.
He said hunger could be avoided if his subjects adhered to his advice by not selling all the maize very cheaply but to wait for the right time when all the maize is harvested from the fields.
He said the briefcase traders were frustrating the efforts of government by swindling the small scale farmers out of their hard earned sweat.
Senior Chief Shakumbila said the PF government has got an ambitious plan to buy all the maize from the farmers through the FRA which is the only established institution mandated to buy the maize.
The traditional leader has however appealed to government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to increase the 2012/2013 floor price to KR100 which he said was reasonable.
Last week, the Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) projected a 2.47 million tonnes maize production for the 2012/13 farming season representing 97 percent of the total output from the farmers in the country.
ZNFU President Jervis Zimba disclosed at a media briefing in Lusaka that the survey conducted countrywide by his organisation indicated that the maize production would hit 2.47 million tonnes compared to 2.5 million tonnes for the previous farming season.
But Agriculture and Livestock Minister Bob Sichinga is very soon expected to issue a comprehensive statement regarding Zambia’s crop yield.
Zambia has so far recorded three successful bumper harvests since independence and this would be the fourth one if the projection becomes a reality.