Zambia’s FRA throws transporters lifeline to stymie crop wastage


By Davis Mulenga | 13 November 2017
transporters
Maize being harvested. Photo: Johan Norval

Boycotting transporters have resumed ferrying maize after Zambia’s Food Reserve Agency (FRA) made partial payment of the K200 million owed to them.

The move stymied potential damage to crops uncollected in rural areas. “We paid some of the money we owe transporters and they have started ferrying maize to ensure that no crop goes to waste,” said FRA Executive Director Chola Kafwabulula.

Kafwabulula did not disclose the amount paid and what was still owing.

Also read: Pressure on Zambia’s Food Reserve Agency to pay transporters

The crop marketing season ended on October 31, 2017 with the FRA buying in excess of the targeted 500 000 tons of national strategic reserves. It has also been directed to continue buying from farmers who depended on the agency as the main buyer of their grain.

Ferrying the grain to warehouses in located in provincial centres ground to halt a few weeks back following a boycott by transporters over payment of money owed to them.

Also read: Zambia’s Food Reserve Agency meets maize target

This heightened fears of crop wastage as farmers did not have proper storage and the rains had already started in parts of the country.

The National Agriculture Information System (NAIS) reported poor state of the roads in rural areas had hampered efforts to get maize to warehouses.

According to NAIS, transporting maize to designated FRA depots was a huge problem as transporters were choosy on the routes, leaving a good number of farmers unserved.

Meanwhile, the Zambia Meteorological Department (ZMD) forecast rains that lashed most parts of Zambia over the weekend to continue on the week. According to ZMD, parts of the country would, in the week ahead from November 13 to 16, experience heavy rains with possible thunderstorms.