Millers association commends government

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The Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) has described as progressive the policy by government to introduce the exchange system of fertiliser and maize with small scale farmers.

The association has however raised concern on how the new system will be implemented.

Under the Exchange system, four (4) 50-kilogramme (kg) bags of grade A maize will be swapped with two (2) 50kg of top dressing fertiliser (Urea) and four (4) 50kg bags of grade A maize will be swapped with two (2) 50kg bags of D compound basal dressing fertiliser respectively.

The initiative will run together with the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) and result in the procurement of about 230,000 metric tonnes of maize.

MAZ Executive Director Allan Sakala said the exchange system was a good one but only required effective implementation.

Mr Sakala said the system had been ineffective when used in the past and it was therefore important that it worked this time around.

ZANIS Business reports that Mr Sakala said this in a phone interview in Lusaka today.

He stressed that the initiative should be clearly explained because at the moment it was not clear what roles will be played by all stakeholders at different levels.

“As much as it is a good policy, we need to know who will be doing what and when there is need to explain clearly the roles and responsibility of the Food Reserve Agency (FRA), government, the farmers and the Millers in all this,” he said.

Mr Sakala added that MAZ would wait and see how the process will be handled before deciding whether it was fully effective or not.

Meanwhile, Mr Sakala says the cancellation of the urea fertiliser tender by the ministry due to irregularities has raised a lot of doubt in the sector.

He said the fact that tender process often took too long to conclude has raised a lot of concern in the industry.

Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Bob Sichinga when announcing the system in Lusaka disclosed that government had cancelled the tender on urea fertiliser after observing some irregularities in the process.

The agriculture minister said government would not tolerate corruption.