The Food Reserve Agency (FRA) will announce its price offer to maize producers next week, the Zambian government said. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, this year’s maize price offer by FRA will be higher than last year’s K85 for 50kg.
This follows concerns by producers who allege FRA’s silence on its price offer to maize producers makes them vulnerable to alleged exploitation by private grain buyers.
“I’m not sure how much the price will be, but I am optimistic that it will be higher than the one we had last year,” said Agriculture Permanent Secretary Julius Shawa.
Both local and international buyers have already gone on the market, paying between K50 and K120 for a 50kg bag. Buyers include the Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ), who is buying at K75/50kg.
Shawa said the announcement of the maize price will coincide with the time the moisture content of the grain would have reduced to the acceptable level of 12.5%.
He said at time of writing, the moisture content of maize was at 13.7%, which is still quite high.
Zambia this year registered a bumper maize harvest of 3.6 million tons, a 25% increase from last year.
FRA is expected to buy an estimated 500 000 tons for strategic reserves.
Meanwhile, chiefs countrywide are finding it hard to dissuade their subjects from selling their maize to private grain buyers before the FRA made its price offer known.
Chief Chanje of Eastern Province said in desperation, his subjects resorted to selling their maize to private grain buyers for as low as K40/50kg.