Nicholas Mwale-The Food Reserve Agency -FRA- has launched the 2020 Crop Marketing programme.
Agriculture Minister MICHAEL KATAMBO launched the programme in Lusaka, and expressed hope that the FRA will achieve the target of One million metric tonnes of maize.
Mr KATAMBO said the FRA is well equipped and has been funded to pay farmers on time, adding that the Agency has so far received over One billion kwacha from the Ministry of Finance.
He said the Agency will provide an assured market for small-scale farmers in far-flung areas who have for a long time been at the mercy of unscrupulous traders, who usually pay peanuts.
Mr KATAMBO directed the FRA to ensure that all the money released is dedicated to paying farmers.
And FRA Executive Director CHOLA KAFWABULULA said the agency intends to purchase One million tonnes of White maize, 3 thousand metric tonnes of Soya bean and 1-thousand metric tonnes of paddy rice.
Mr KAFWABULULA said the FRA is targeting to operate 1-thousand 2-hundred satellite depots in 105 districts across the country.
He further said farmers will be paid through designated banks upon presentation of appropriate documentation, and that it will be done on first-come-first-served basis.
Meanwhile, the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit – DMMU- has donated the Covid-19 protective materials that include hand sanitizers, face masks and soap to the FRA.
Minister in the Office of the Vice President OLIPA PHIRI said the donation is meant to protect both farmers and FRA officers as they carry out the crop marketing exercise.
Ms PHIRI said this in a speech read on her behalf by DMMU Director of Operations JOSHUA KAMANYA.
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