Zambian farmers are warning continued delay of payment by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) threatens to undermine their ability to plant maize this season.
This follows after Vice President Inonge Wina assured on Friday that farmers would be paid this week.
“I want to assure farmers will be paid from Monday (today),” Inonge said in response to a deluge of questions about the delayed payment to farmers by parliamentarians whose constituents are affected.
The FRA owes K600 million to farmers who supplied it with maize during this year’s marketing season.
Heading into the third week since the rains set in nationwide, farmers are concerned as their plans to plant in time are running behind.
“The situation is pretty bad,” said James Mulonga, a Lusaka farmer. “At the end of the day, I won’t be able to plant this season.”
“If we don’t get payment soon, we might find ourselves looking for relief food,” said Emma Banda, member of a farmers’ cooperative in Kabwe, Central Province.
In Zambia, an estimated 1 million small-scale farmers are credited with the production of more than 80% of maize produced.