‘Maize price double-edged sword’

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NOEL IYOMBWA writes

THE K110 the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has announced as its price for a 50kg bag of maize is a good and bad news at the same time, National Union for Small Scale Farmer’s general secretary Frank Kayula has said.

Speaking in a telephone interview Dr Kayula said the price was good in the sense that it had increased from the previous one, but that Government did not consider the market and its ability to buy the targeted tonnes from farmers.

He said NUSSZ doubted if Government would reach the targeted 300,000 metric tonnes this year.

“The announced price is good and bad news to the farmers. It is good because the price has increased by 64 percent compared to last year’s price, but on the other hand Government did not consider its ability to buy the maize from farmers.

“At the same time it did not consider the market,” Dr Kayula said.

He said farmers would prefer to sell their maize to the private sector which was buying at K150 per 50kg.

Dr Kayula was sad that farmers were resorting to selling their maize to private buyers rather than Government.

He said only few farmers from the north would sell their commodity to FRA.

Meanwhile Dr Kayula has advised small-scale farmers not to sell all their maize but reserve some bags for household consumption.

He said farmers needed to apply reserve strategy at household level as well.

Dr Kayula advised farmers to sell their produce to the finest bidders.

FRA last week announced the price of K110 per 50kg for white maize, K140 per 50kg bag for soya beans and K70 for a 40kg bag of paddy rice.

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