Small Scale Farmers have urged government to rescind its decision of not buying soya beans from farmers as this will exploit farmers from private buyers.
With government showing no interest in buying soya beans from farmers during this year’s crop marketing season, the private sector would offer prices that were exploitative, which would result in farmers incurring losses.
This is according to the Small Scale Farmers Development Agency (SAFADA) Executive Director, Boyd Moobwe, in an interview on Monday.
Moobwe said the impact of exploitation would even discourage farmers from crop diversification because all of them would shift their focus to growing maize.
“It is unfair for government not to buy soya beans from the farmers, especially at a time when production has increased because of the good price government in the last marketing season,” he said.
Moobwe also said this move had the potential to discourage crop diversification.
He said when the government through the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) sets the floor price of crops during the marketing season, it sets the tone at which the private sector would be buying agricultural produce from farmers.
He said government would encourage competition with the private sector if it purchased soya beans and farmers would sell their produce at competitive prices.
Moobwe cited what happened during the last marketing season where the government was buying soya beans at K11 per kilogramme and after securing the required stocks, the private sector started offering prices as low as K3 per kilogramme.
He said what happened last year was likely to repeat itself this year and it would happen in the worst scenarios.
But FRA board chairperson, Kelvin Hambwezya, said FRA bought soya beans at a very high price last season.
He expressed concern that the agency had struggled to sell the soya beans because of the high price at which it was bought.
Hambwezya said this had negatively affected the agency’s budget.
He also called on the private sector to offer competitive prices for soya beans to farmers.
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