After weeks of silence, Zambian Agriculture Minister Dora Siliya has announced that government will not set the floor price for maize. The minister said the decision is consistent with government’s position to allow farmers to charge what they believe their crop is worth.
“What will happen is that government, like any other buyer, will make an offer of at what price it is willing to buy the crop,” Siliya said. According to local media, Siliya said grain buyers should make their own prices.
Siliya said grain buyers should make their own prices
The maize marketing season opened a week ago amid uncertainty about the floor price. This allowed private grain buyers to besiege small-scale producers with cash offers of K50/50kg. Last year, government set the floor price at K85/50kg.
Over the years farmers have lamented the low returns on their crop despite the increase of agricultural inputs.
The outcry intensified this year when the country recorded a bumper harvest. However, farmers say the benefits of the bumper harvest was undercut by unfavourable market conditions. This included grain levies imposed by local councils, coupled by a 10% export duty.
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