Agriculture Minister Wilbur Simuusa has announced the long awaited maize floor price for the 2014/2015 maize marketing season which has been pegged at K70.00 for a 50 kg bag.
Mr. Simuusa announced in a ministerial statement in Parliament this morning that the Food Reserve Agency will commence buying maize from farmers on 1st July 2014 in areas where the moisture content has reached the stipulated standard of 12.5%.Mr Simuusa named the areas as Southern, Luapula, Lusaka, Eastern and Northern provinces.
He has since encouraged the private sector to buy maize for their operations from farmers as the Food Reserve Agency will only be restricted to purchase maize for the strategic reserves.
Mr.Simuusa said the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) will this marketing season buy maize and Paddy Rice in remote areas across the country where the private sector will most likely not venture.
Mr Simuusa said the FRA will purchase 500,000 metric tonnes of maize and 2,100 mteric tonnes of Paddy rice.
Mr. Simuusa also told Parliament that over 20 thousand metric tonnes of D Compound fertilizer has already been delivered to all the ten provinces of Zambia.
He further announced that carryover stock of over 18,000 metric tonnes of urea fertilizer has been moved to designated districts in readiness for distribution to farmers while the procurement of the balance has reached an advanced stage.
He added that the same number of satellite depots which stood at 115 used in the previous marketing season will be maintained.
Mr Simuusa has also stated that farmers will be paid promptly this marketing season, and that farmers will continue to receive payment through appointed financial institutions in various locations.
He added that besides the arrangements made for payment of farmers and designation of satellite depots, more than 50% of empty grain bags and other marketing requisites are already in place.
And Mr Simuusa said it is envisaged that all farming inputs for the 2014/2015 would have reached farmers across the country by end of August 2014.
He said government is determined to address the perennial cry of late delivery of farming inputs by ensuring that all inputs reach farmers on time.
Mr Simuusa said government has targeted to increase to the small scale farmers under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) from 900,000 to 1,000,000 million beneficiaries