President Edgar Lungu has weighed in on the backlash over the maize price offer of K60/50kg, urging buyers and sellers to reach a mutually beneficial outcome.
Angry farmers have already garnered much sympathy, including from millers who accuse the FRA of being stingy.
“There should be a bargaining process so that buyers and sellers are willing to exchange commodities, and no one should be exploited,” Lungu said.
Lungu said he did not want to intervene, as it will politicise maize production. He believes the process must be economical and should benefit those who are involved in farming and marketing the crop.
Lungu’s comments come as farmers bitterly complain that the FRA’s offer is too low.
The National Small-scale Farmers Union’s Enock Kaoma said the price set by FRA can’t support farmers economically or uplift their social standards.
President of the Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) Andrew Chintala urged millers to buy maize from farmers at a higher price than offered by the FRA.
“Farmers expected FRA to buy at last year’s K85, but let us support the farmers and pay them a cost reflective price for their maize,” Chintala said.
MAZ previously suggested buying at K75/50kg.
The FRA earlier justified its price offer, saying the cost of its operations had escalated.
The agency set a price of K130/50kg for soya bean and K70/40kg for paddy rice.
Buying will start in August.
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