Zambia: Treat Maize Floor Price as Minimum

21 May 2009 • by Natalie Aster

THE Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF) has advised farmers to treat the Government's floor price for maize as the minimum price for a 50 kilogramme bag on the local market.

ZCF president, Elijah Musanje said in an interview in Ndola yesterday that the maize floor price was intended to guide the farmers on the minimum amount at which they could sell their produce.

"Our appeal to all our farmer members is that no one should sell their maize below the K65,000 which to us is simply a fair but not very good price," he said.

He said the floor price for maize only made sense to the farmers who benefited from the subsidised fertiliser under the Government backed fertiliser support programme (FSP).

Mr Musanje said a large proportion of 2.1 million ZCF farmer members did not benefit from facility.

He said ZCF believed that a better price for maize could have been arrived at if there was wider consultation to ensure that all categories of farmers in the country benefited from the maize floor price.

He explained that some farmers bought the fertiliser between K250,000 and K300,000 per 50 kilogramme bag and selling maize at the K65,000 floor price would not be profitable for such farmers.

Under the scheme which is an initiative of ZCF, some farmers last year accessed fertiliser at a subsidised price of K213,000 per 50 kilogramme bag.

Meanwhile, The Grain Traders Association of Zambia (GTAZ) has welcomed the recently announced maize floor price of K65,000 per 50 kilogramme bag of maize.

GTAZ chairman George Liacopoulos, said the association commended the FRA and the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives for announcing the maize floor price and quantities it was targeting to buy this season.

Mr Liacopoulos said in a statement yesterday that the timely announcement of the crop forecast as well as the FRA floor price were a positive development because it allowed stakeholders to prepare themselves for the on set of the marketing season.

He said his association was looking forward to participating in this year's marketing season by purchasing more than 300,000 tonnes of maize.