Chongwe farmers threaten to camp at FRA depot to demand their money

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—Some Farmers in Chongwe farming block in Lusaka province have called on government to quickly pay them their money for the maize they sold to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) for the 2013/2014 farming season.

Speaking on behalf of other farmers, Jamiah Chilala threatened that farmers in Chongwe will camp at the FRA depot on Friday this week until they are paid their money.

Mr Chilala said there is no way farmers should always be treated like kids whenever they sell their maize to the agency.

And Dickson Mukwaza, a commercial farmer from Chongwe district, said it is frustrating that despite several promises by government that it would pay all farmers their money within a few weeks of delivering their grain, nothing has since materialised.

The farmers told ZANIS in Lusaka today that farmers in the area are not sleeping because they do not know how they will prepare for the 2014/2015 farming season which has since started as they have no money to procure farming inputs.

Meanwhile, Philip Chipakukula said the delay by government to settle what they owe farmers is detrimental to improving the agricultural sector in the nation.

Mr Chipakulula said failure to pay farmers on time will in future discourage them from selling their maize to the Food Reserve Agency.

He bitterly complained that many farmers in Chongwe have not yet been paid their money for the 2013/ 2014 farming season.

But speaking on the Zambia National Broadcasting service (ZNBC) television in Lusska this morning, Agriculture and Livestock Minister, Wilber Simuusa, said government has sourced K 500 million to pay the farmers.

Mr Simuusa said the money would carter for all those farmers remaining to be paid their dues.

He said farmers should be patient as government is doing everything possible to bail them out.