— New floor price pleases Chief Singani

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New floor price pleases Chief Singani

Choma, June 21,  2014, ZANIS —- Chief Singani of the Tonga speaking people of Southern Province has praised the government for setting the maize floor price at K70 per a 50 Kilogrammes bag of maize during this years’ crop marketing season.

Chief Singani says the  new floor price would significantly help to reduce poverty among small scale farmers in the country.

“ On behalf of my people I would like to say that we are very grateful for Patriotic Front (PF) government for listening to the cry of poor farmers by increasing the maize floor price. This price will no doubt help to reduce pervasive poverty among poor farmers,” said His Royal Highness Singani.

Agriculture Minister Mr. Wilbur Simuusa yesterday announced that the maize floor price was pegged at K70 per 50 Kilogrammes of maize to commence on 1st July, 2014 in  Southern, Lusaka, Luapula, Eastern and Northern Provinces respectively where maize moisture content has reached the recommended 12.5 per cent.

Government is also expected to purchase 500,000 metric tonnes of maize and 2,100 metric tonnes of paddy rice.

However, the traditional leader urged government to keep its word on delivering farming inputs under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) by the end of August this year.

He explained that this would enable farmers across the country to adequately prepare for the 2014/2015 farming season.

His Royal Highness noted that failure to deliver inputs in time will militate farmers’ ability to produce another maize bumper harvest.

Chief Singani also implored the government to engage traditional leaders in the inputs distribution exercise to ensure that only bona fide farmers benefit.

“ I want to advise the government to engage us in the input distribution exercise this time around so that only genuine farmers benefit unlike the current scenario where even government officers and in some cases commercial farmers benefit under the FISP programme,” His Royal Highness said.

But United Party for National Development (UPND) Livingstone District Spokesperson Mr. Neto Halwabala said the maize floor price was not commensurate to the costs farmers incurred in the production of commodity.

“ There is nothing for farmers to be excited about the K5 increase , government should have taken into account costs that farmers incurred in the producing maize ad should have increased the floor price further also considering that the K65 floor price has been constant for three consecutive farming seasons,” said Mr. Halwabala.