‘MMD discouraging farmers from selling maize to FRA’

MMD cadres sing outside DEC offices_Lusakavoice.com

FARMERS in Kapoche in Petauke have complained to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) that some MMD members have allegedly been going round discouraging them from selling their maize to the agency saying they risk not being paid.
One of the farmers, Misheck Phiri, said MMD members have allegedly been spreading falsehoods about the crop marketing exercise with a view to frustrating Government’s efforts.
“They [MMD members] have been telling us that even if we sell our maize at K65 per bag, FRA will deduct K5 from each bag,” he said.
Mr Phiri said the opposition wants to portray that Government is not concerned about the welfare of the people.
Another farmer, Cycle Banda, said because of what they have been told, some farmers have opted to sell their maize to other traders, who promised to pay them good money.
“As farmers, we thought that since they [FRA] plan to pay us reduced amounts of money, it is better not to sell our maize. It is frustrating, there is a lot of maize in villages which has not been taken for sale,” he said.
Mr Banda said there is no way he could have agreed to sell his maize at K60 when there are a lot of costs incurred in procuring marketing materials and transporting maize to satellite depots.
And FRA executive director Chola Kafwabulula said the agency has taken note of such reports and encouraged farmers to continue ferrying their maize to FRA satellite depots for sale.
But when contacted for comment, MMD deputy national secretary Chembe Nyangu said it is not true that MMD members have been discouraging farmers from selling their maize to FRA.
“It is not correct that some party members are involved in such. It is just some people who want to paint MMD black,” he said.
Mr Nyangu said farmers are enlightened enough and they know that Government will pay them K65 per 50 kilogramme bag of maize they will supply to FRA.