Hike maize floor price, Govt urged

small scale farmers

SOME farmers in Ndola are appealing to Government to consider increasing the maize floor price as a way of stopping the commodity from finding its way to the black market.
Government has assured the farmers that it would deliver inputs on time in the next farming season to avoid a reoccurrence of what happened in the last season.
Ruth Mwale who harvested more than 68 bags in the previous farming season said the cost of growing maize had gone up hence the need to increase the floor price.
Ms Mwale said farmers were spending a lot of money on growing the commodity and transporting it to the nearest satellite depots.
She said she did not benefit from the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) in the previous season and spent a lot of money on the inputs.
“We are using our own money in growing this maize, we want Government to increase the floor price to at least K80 or K85,” she said.
Another farmer Judith Namukonda who has so far sold 130 bags of maize to the Food Reserve Agency said the price was too low and called for it to be increased.
David Sisimushiba a farmer of Ndola said some of the farmers were still keeping the maize in their homes hoping that the price would go up.
A check at one of the depots in Misundu in Ndola showed that only 600 bags had so far been bought towards the 5,000 target.
Agriculture Deputy Minister Rodgers Mwewa said Government understood the farmers’ concerns and would ensure that they got the inputs on time.
He said Government invested a lot in the production of maize hence the decision to put the floor price at K65.
“We have started the distribution of inputs and we don’t want farmers to buy the expensive inputs, we are already on course, we want to ensure that all farmers should have D Compound by September 30, 2013,” he said.