Party of National Unity (PNU) president Highvie Hamududu says farmers will make huge losses in this year due to the low maize floor price announced by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA).

In an interview with News Diggers!, Hamududu observed that government was listening more to grain traders than farmers.

“As Party of National Unity we are very disappointed with the marketing arrangement this year. The farmers have done their best, Zambia has improved the production of many crops maize, soya beans, sun flower, cotton but the prices are disputable. Government is listening more to the traders than to the farmers,” Hamududu said.

“The government must listen to the farmers than to the traders. What is happening now is in the whole farming value chain, the trader is benefiting more than the farmer. The farmers yes are withholding to the maize but finally they will have run out of money to take their children to school. They will be forced to sell their crops at very low prices. The price of soya beans has dropped, the price of maize has dropped.”

He charged that government was conniving with grain traders to disadvantage farmers.

“Government must not come out completely from this marketing of crops. Otherwise it’s killing agriculture. So farmers have made serious losses yet if you go to Kasumbalema, a bag of maize is selling at K110. It means that right inside Congo, the price is too high. Government must put a marketing agency maybe working with the private sector to make sure that the farmers are not exploited by the traders. But the traders are conniving with the government and the government is only listening to the grain traders and not listening to the farmers. Government must fairly listen to the grain traders, the farmer and to the millers. But the one who must be listened to more is the farmer because he is the producer,” said Hamududu.

“The government must enhance the role of Food Reserve Agency (FRA). There must be another agency or FRA can also do the marketing of crops, buy this maize and export, buy soya beans and export. The market for these crops is not lucky, and DRC wants maize. In Kenya, traders came here but the government is listening more to grain traders than to the farmers. Farmers have been left vulnerable.”