Very little maize has been bought by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) in the Eastern Province, because of the increased number of private buyers in the region.
Dr Chanda Kasolo, permanent secretary of the Eastern Province, told the media that the FRA had bought a low number of bags of maize for the current marketing season. Kasalo spoke to the press at his offices in Chipata, said the Zambian National Farmers’ Union.
The FRA’s target was 140 000 tons of maize, but, said Kasolo, the agency was not able to buy even 5 000 tons because of private trade.
The government recently closed its borders to maize exports so that the FRA could buy their targeted maize tonnage for strategic food reserves.
Kasolo said maize bought by the FRA and by private buyers should remain in the province. The Zambian National Service (ZNS) would be placed on border duty to ensure that maize did not leave the country. Speaking to local radio station, BreezeFM, Kasolo said three national servicemen had been discharged after it was discovered that they had sold maize products at the Eastern Province border. It was the duty of ZNS officers to control the smuggling of staple food out of Zambia, said Kasolo, and he condemned the officials for being party to criminal activities.