The Food Reserve Agency (FRA) owes K600 million to farmers who supplied it with maize during this year’s marketing season, said FRA executive director, Chola Kafwabulula.
Kafwabulula said the agency has already paid out K103 million and expects treasury to pay the balance soon.
FRA exceeded its target of 500 000 tons by 22 000, because of an overwhelming response by farmers over the last few weeks.
Also read: Panic selling at end of marketing season
“It was not our intent to exceed the target, but we cannot turn away farmers who have already delivered their maize at our depots,” he said.
Last week, government ordered the FRA to continue buying maize, after it emerged that thousands of rural farmers were stuck with their grain.
Also read: Zambian government instructs FRA to keep buying maize
Many farmers said the FRA’s lack of payment makes it difficult for them to access farming inputs under government’s Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP).
Also read: Zambian smallholder farmers face another season of delayed inputs
“It has been two months since I supplied FRA with maize. Still no cash and I’m worried that I won’t be able to plant this season if I don’t receive payment before the rains come,” said Boyd Chikamba, a farmer from Lusaka.
Also read: Zambian treasury releases more funds to secure uncollected maize