Government says it is in the process of contracting farmers across the country to begin to grow early maturing maize as a means of reducing the high prices of mealie meal and mitigating the high cost of living.
All Provincial Agriculture Coordinators have, therefore, been directed to begin to engage farmers with the potential to grow early maize for the 2023/2024 farming season.
This is according to a circular signed by Green Mbozi, Ministry of Agriculture Permanent Secretary on August 21, 2023 but accessed by the media on Sunday.
Mbozi said droughts, crop disease, global commodity price fluctuations and the increase of the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) grain buying price of K280 had resulted into rising mealie meal prices which the country was experiencing.
“You may be aware that currently, small scale farmers produce about 95 percent of the maize in the country. You may also be aware that due to a number of factors such as droughts, crop disease, global commodity price fluctuations and the increase of FRA maize buying price from K180 to K280/50Kg bag during the 2023 marketing season, the country has experienced rising mealie meal prices.”
“In order to mitigate against the rising mealie meal prices, Government has been in discussion with the Zambia National Farmers Union with a view to engaging farmers who could be contracted to grow early maize starting from the 2023/2024 farming season,” Mbozi said.
Mbozi said it had come to the attention of the Ministry that some of the potential early maize farmers did not belong to the Zambia National Farmers Union and it was therefore imperative that they could be engaged through the District Agriculture Coordinators.
“The purpose of this memo is to request respective provinces and districts to assist in identifying these farmers who have the capabilities and facilities to grow early maize.
“The information should include district/location, area under irrigation and area to be cultivated with maize during 2023/2024 season. Please treat this assignment as a top priority in your schedules,” Mbozi said.
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