ZAMBIA – The Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has advised millers countrywide to buy maize directly from farmers or the open market while the commodity is still available in order to sustain their operations as the crop marketing season progresses.
John Chipandwe, the Agency Public Relations Coordinator spoke in an interview while responding to millers who have continued making maize purchase applications to the institution.
“In this regard, the Agency wishes to notify millers that it is no longer selling maize and further wishes to urge them to buy the commodity directly from farmers or from the open market while the commodity is still available,” Mr. Chipandwe stated.
According to Chipandwe, the move is intended to reduce millers’ maize dependence on FRA by ensuring that they stock adequate maize during this year’s ongoing crop marketing season to sustain their business operations.
Therefore, Mr. Chipandwe has urged millers to purchase the commodity directly from farmers despite the ongoing crop marketing season and stable supply of grain on the domestic market.
He added that the Agency does not expect millers to be making maize purchase applications because the crop marketing season is currently in progress.
Contrary to the norm, Chipandwe reminded millers that they are key stakeholders that play a critical role in sustaining national food security and should therefore always buy adequate maize stocks to sustain their business operations instead of depending on national strategic food reserves.
In March this year, the Zambian government took a step forward to cushion shortage of the corn grain and stabilize the price of mealie meals by promoting community sales under the Food Reserve Agency (FRA).
In doing so, the FRA fixed its maize purchasing price for the 2023 Grain Marketing season at K280 per 50kg bag from last year’s K180, translating to a 55.5% jump from the previous year.
According to the agency, the move was intended to replenish the strategic grain reserves from a dynamic grain market obtained locally and, in the region, to meet the minimum statutory strategic grain reserve threshold of 500, 000 MT and 1,000MT of paddy rice.