Increase in maize floor price triggers mixed reactions, as govt rationalizes decision


The decision by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to increase the maize floor price to K330 per 50 kilogramme of the commodity has excited farmers who have viewed it as a good price.

The FRA on Friday announced that it would be buying the 50-kilogram bag of maize at K330.

Reacting to this news, Small-scale Farmers Development Agency (SAFADA) Executive Director, Boyd Moobwe, noted that the K330 was a good price considering the current demand for the commodity due to reduced supply.

Moobwe told journalists on Saturday in Lusaka that the price would give an opportunity to the FRA to also mop up the maize on the market with farmers having the commodity in stock.

“A number of farmers would be happy to sell their maize at a good price so that they can make meaningful profit,” he said.

Read more: Food agency asks for maize from farmers, pledges to buy commodity at K330 per 50kg

However, Zambia Consumer Association (ZACA) Executive Director, Juba Sakala, feared that the K330 maize price would result in an increase in the price of mealie meal.

Sakala explained that consumers were already buying mealie meal at a high price and that the increase in the maize floor price would worsen the situation.

He said it was understood why FRA had arrived at such a price, citing the drought situation, but that the consequences would be severe.

Meanwhile, government Spokesperson, Cornelius Mweetwa, clarified the rationale of increasing the sale of maize.

According to Mweetwa, the private sector had given FRA stiff competition.

He stated that private sector was offering a 50-kilogrammes bag of maize at K330.

“If the FRA had placed the floor price below the K330 it would have been difficult to go on the market where the private sector is offering higher price. Offering less what the private sector is offering would mean that the FRA would not reach its intended target.

“We are in a crisis caused by the drought and FRA is in stiff competition with the private sector. Government is aware that if does not buy enough, it will be forced to buy more than the 650, 000 metric tonnes of maize at a higher price. So, this decision is for the benefit of Zambia,” Mweetwa said.

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