The Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) predicts a drop in maize production for this year’s farming season. Farmers are likely to shun the crop due to poor returns.
ZNFU President Jervis Zimba said many farmers say they will not grow commercial maize because of the meagre price offered by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA).
“Owing to losses incurred during this marketing season, most farmers say they will only grow maize for domestic consumption. This will put Zambia’s food security at stake,” said Zimba at the close of the union’s 112th annual congress.
Zambia recorded a bumper harvest of 3.6 million tons of maize this year, a 25% increase from last year. But producers faced a tumultuous crop marketing season, with prices falling to as low as K40/50 kg from last year’s K85.
This followed government’s decision not to set the floor price for maize. FRA offered K60/50 kg, causing an outcry by farmers.
Zimba said the decline in grain prices not only affected farmers, but also financial institutions and other stakeholders in the value chain.
“Farmers are calling on government to address unfair market trends hampering crop and livestock because no farmers, no food, no future,” Zimba said.
The ZNFU annual congress was held under the theme of “Sustaining agriculture in shrinking markets” and was officiated by President Edgar Lungu.