Farmers with outstanding payments for delivering grain to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) will be paid before the end of the month.
Zambian Minister of Agriculture, Dora Siliya, recently told the Zambian National Farmers Union (ZNFU) that farmers still owed money by the FRA will be paid within the next two weeks, according to the ZNFU’s weekly newsletter.
Siliya had made this promise during a visit from the ZNFU president, Jervis Zimba, and other board members.
The previous weekly brief indicated that farmers in the North Western Province were still receiving payments for the supply of maize and paddy rice. The money had been paid mostly through the bank.
However, farmers are concerned that they won’t be able to prepare in time for the new planting season if they don’t receive the funds soon. Rain has started falling in some regions.
Minister of Farmers
During the visit with the minister, the ZNFU delegation discussed several topics that need to be tackled, in the process of restoring the Zambian agricultural sector.
This included the effects of unregulated imports of agricultural products, and possible negative effects of the introduction of the 10% export tax on maize, announced at the 2017 National Budget, the high cost of farming making the industry uncompetitive, and challenges with water management in the country.
According to the ZNFU, Minister Siliya pledged to be a minister of farmers, since farming is seen as the starting point for the value chain leading to trading and value adding.
“As a way forward she undertook to facilitate immediate consultations with key ministers that have an impact on agriculture and also to undertake field trips to investigate the industry,” said the ZNFU in its statement.