Farmers protest new maize price

The ideal and economic floor price of maize should have been K92 per 50 kg bag as opposed to the K70, says the Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU).

ZNFU president Evelyn Nguleka has said that the new maize floor price of  K70 per 50 kg bag of maize is exploitative.

Dr Nguleka has appealed to government to consider revising the floor price upwards so that farmers could be motivated to produce more for the country and reduce the poverty levels among rural farmers.

She said Government should have factored into the new price the inflation levels because the prices of most goods and services in the country had continued to rise at a higher rate.

Dr Nguleka said in a statement that despite the current trend of the country’s inflation fluctuations, the maize floor price has been static from 2009 at K65 per 50Kg bag while the prices of farming inputs which had left their incomes unchanged.

She said the ZNFU was of the view that had Government put into consideration the economic conditions that farmers face, the floor price for maize for 2014 should have been at K92.26 per 50Kg bag which could have reflected a 7.8 percent inflation adjustment recorded during this year’s maize marketing season.

Dr Nguleka said other consideration that government could have had in mind in the setting the 2014 floor price of maize should have been the upward adjustment of the cost of fuel, depreciation of the Kwacha, upward adjustment of Interest rates and the wage related costs in maize production.

“The new maize floor price announced by government is exploitative because for the last three farming seasons, the price has remained static while the inflationary rate has been increasing.

The price of farming inputs have also increased. Government should have factored in determinants such as the increase in fuel prices and electricity tariffs as well as interest rates and other related costs,” she said.

Dr Nguleka said besides all the listed factors, it was also important to recognize that during the year, new charges were introduced by some local authorities that included toll fees on some main roads which meant that transporters would be adding all these costs to the cost of inputs.