ZAMBIA – The Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has urged the private sector to participate in maize purchase in the 2015 crop-marketing season that is expected to open next week as a way to create a readily available market for farmers.

The agency announced on Wednesday this week that it would start purchasing maize from farmers next week with the price maintained at K70 per 50 kilogramme bag of maize.

FRA executive director Chola Kafwabulula said country-wide recruitment and training of personnel to undertake the exercise have been conducted and about 6,000 direct seasonal jobs are expected to be created.

Mr Kafwabulula was speaking at a media briefing on Wednesday that the marketing season, which will open next week, is expected to close on October 31, 2015.

“FRA is only buying the authorised quantity of crop strategic reserves, which is 500,000 metric tonnes, and is expecting the private sector to play an important role in effectively participating by buying a good share of the marketable surplus crop from farmers,” he said.

Mr Kafwabulula said a readily created market for small-scale farmers by the private sector and Government, through the FRA, will transfer income and wealth, hence reduce poverty.

He said communities should also contribute sheds, where available, to promote food security.

Mr Kafwabulula said farmers must clean their crops in advance at their farms to avoid long queues as FRA buying locations screen to ensure quality of crop.

August 18, 2015;