FRA receives additional funding for farmers

Christine Daka, small farmer in Zambia
THE Food Reserve Agency (FRA) in Kabwe has received an additional K500,000 to pay farmers who have sold their maize to the agency.

Kabwe District Commissioner Patrick Chishala said in Kabwe yesterday that the FRA started paying some farmers last week and others will be paid when more funds are allocated.
“I can confirm that farmers in Kabwe are being paid. We have received K500,000 but this money is not enough to pay all farmers who have supplied their maize to the Food Reserve Agency,” Mr Chishala said.
He said Government is concerned about the welfare of farmers and is doing its best to ensure that they are paid before the rains start.
Mr Chishala said the FRA is expected to buy 250,000 x 50kg bags of maize in Kabwe this year.
However, the agency has not reached even half of this target because some small-scale farmers have been selling their maize to private buyers, he said.
Mr Chishala is optimistic that following the extension of the marketing period from September 30 to October 31, 2013, farmers will continue to sell their crop to the FRA and the target will be reached.
He also said maize which was stored at satellite depots has been taken to Natuseko depot to prevent wastage from the rains.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health in Kabwe has received 700 bags of D compound fertilizer under the Food Security Pack programme.
Mr Chishala said the fertilizer will be distributed to 350 vulnerable but viable farmers to promote food security.
Meanwhile, CLAVER MUTINTA reports that the FRA has assured farmers in Chadiza that they will be paid soon.
FRA executive director Chola Kafwabulula said in a press statement issued by public relations manager Daniel M’soka yesterday that the agency owes farmers in Chadiza more than K5.2 million.
Mr Kafwabulula said out of K9,318,400, the FRA has paid farmers K4,071,173 so far.
The agency has so far paid almost K50 million to farmers in Eastern Province and still owes some farmers slightly above K47 million.
“Eastern Province has so far sold 74,637 metric tonnes worth K97,028,100 since the crop marketing season opened on 22nd July, 2013,” Mr Kafwabulula said.