ZAMBIA – Zambia is targeting to store up to 1 million tons of the country’s staple food, Maize, this year double the amount that is usually stored up of 500,000 metric tonnes.
To meet the national reserve target, the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) is seeking K2.2 billion (US$111.9m), with reports by Zambian Business times indicating that the agency has only received less than half of the amount.
Due to this, the FRA is said that it may struggle to meet the target despite the fact that Zambia forecasted a bumper harvest of over 3.4 million tons of Maize production in the 2019/2020 agricultural season.
“We are optimistic that these measures and more will enable us to procure one million metric tonnes of maize before the close of the marketing season.”FRA Public Relations Coordinator – John Chipandwe
The failure to meet the target will be on account that the market is awash with traders and millers buying maize at cash on delivery terms, leading to most farmers opting not to sell to FRA to avoid delayed payment.
FRA Public Relations Coordinator John Chipandwe has disclosed that farmers that supply their crops to the Agency this marketing season are being paid upon delivery of their crops and processing of their documents.
“We are optimistic that these measures and more will enable us to procure one million metric tonnes of maize before the close of the marketing season.
“We are also receiving positive feedback from farmers since they are being paid upon delivery once they deliver their crops and this is why within a short space of time, we have managed to record the quantities as indicated above,” he added.
The agency has so far managed to purchase a total of about 58,000 tons (1,160,507 by 50Kg bags) of white maize as of July 23th, 2020, from all the 10 provinces across the country.
The country had a maize carry-over stock amounting to 179,247 metric tonnes as at 1st May, 2020 therefore the total supply of maize available for the 2020/2021 marketing season is 3,566,716 metric tonnes.
With a projected population of over 17 million people, the total maize required is 3,356,617 metric tonnes and these are broken down as 1,603,383 metric tonnes for human consumption, 1,000,000 metric tonnes for strategic food reserves and 409,018 metric tonnes for industrial requirements.
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