ZAMBIAThe Food Reserve Agency has secured market for 192,150 tonnes of maize from the 650,000 earmarked for sale, says agriculture minister Wylbur Simuusa. Simuusa said the sale would raise over K48 million.

“To date, the agency has signed contracts with both local and export market players to sell a total of 192,150 tonnes. This quantity is expected to raise a total of K48.1 million [from local market] and US$38.6 million [from export market] respectively,” Simuusa told Parliament on Wednesday.

The government is trying to use revenue raised from the sale of maize to pay farmers that have not been paid for the corn they supplied to FRA.

“A good number of our farmers were paid on time but to those who have not been paid yet, I want to assure them we are working hard to ensure that all the money owned is cleared,” Simuusa said.

He informed the House that the government was remaining with a balance of K285.5 million to pay farmers that supplied maize to FRA.

“You will appreciate, Mr Speaker, that this is a significant amount of money and the payment plan is as follows: of the remaining provinces, Muchinga Province will be cleared 100 per cent, which will leave us with Southern, Central, Eastern and Northern Provinces,” he said.

“These will be cleared district by district, starting with Kapiri Mposhi, Mkushi, Kalomo, Mazabuka, Lundazi, Petauke, Luwingu and Mbala as we progressively clear all districts.”

Simuusa appealed to the banks to work extra hours to ensure that farmers are paid as quickly as possible, adding that the treasury was sourcing for the K285.5 million deficit.

December 19, 2014;