‘Stupid’ maize prices out – ZNFU

It will be ‘foolish’ for any farmer to sell maize at K25 per 50 Kg bag, says Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) president Jarvis Zimba.

Mr. Zimba said that there was no reason a small scale farmer should sell maize at what he described as a ‘stupid’ price of (K25 per 50kg bag) during the 2013 marketing season.

In an interview, ZNFU president told the Daily Nation that reports suggesting that there were some farmers in the Central and Copperbelt Provinces selling their maize at K25 were incorrect.

“Lusaka is now selling maize at about K73 per 50 Kg bag and Mumbwa small scale farmers are not selling their maize at anything less than K65. So there is no farmer who will sell his harvest at that ‘stupid’ price because I have told the (millers) to buy the commodity and keep it,” he said.

He said that small scale farmers were determined to sell their maize at a more marketable and profitable price which would encourage equal participation and sustainable development in the sector.

“There is no stupid farmer this time around who can sell maize at that cheap price. Even if there were serious briefcase buyers ready to get the maize at K25 cash our farmers have vowed not to be abused.

“And actually let me take this opportunity to warn whoever will attempt to do that,that it is criminal to sell and buy maize at less than the market prices. What is prevailing now is K65 as announced by government.” Mr. Zimba said,

But reports on the Copperbelt and Central Provinces indicate that small scale farmers were selling their newly harvested maize at K25 per 50 Kg bag due to lack of proper and organized markets.

“We are told that government will not buy maize from all small scale farmers, so it is better for us to sell the maize at a giveaway price in order to keep ourselves moving. They have not clearly told us how much the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) will buy from us,” said one of the small scale farmers in Chibombo.

And in a random survey conducted yesterday, small scale farmers in Lusaka and South Provinces respectively said that their maize was not for charity.

“We are not going to give away maize to millers and other briefcase traders. We want value for our maize. Actually those that wish to buy in small quantities we shall sell them at K25 per 20 litre tin. Few people have harvested and we don’t have much maize so we shall be careful this marketing season,” they said.