Mazabuka Central UPND Member of Parliament Garry Nkombo says the K60 buying price of a 50kg bag of maize recommended by government is a recipe for creating poverty among Zambians.
In an interview today, Nkombo told News Diggers! that the price that had been set by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) for the 2017 marketing season was ridiculously low and that it took advantage of poor farmers whose domestic demands kept escalating everyday.
“The maize price that has been recommend by the PF government is ridiculously low and it is a recipe for creating poverty because it takes advantage of the poor farmers who have limited market for the commodity on one hand and also their domestic demands keep escalating everyday as you know the economy is not in its best shape and they have to send their children to school at the same time so this this price coming from government was just ridiculous,” Nkombo said.
“Most of the farmers coming from my constituency are trying to hold back and only sell when the price becomes benefiting to them but like I have said they are sitting on a hard rock and the demand sometimes could overwhelm them and they may end up selling at that very deflated price. So all this is the making of the PF. Government because they should have just allowed the market forces to determine the price of the commodity other than the price pronouncement that was made by FRA, it was very ill-made,” he said.
He said the price of other farm produce was not good enough to give farmers consolation.
“And it’s not only the maize prices that are not favourable for the subsistence farmers, you must understand that even the price of Soya beans, groundnuts, sun flower is affected and then most subsistence farmers don’t do wheat. Then also the market is so manipulated in this country so they can not get a good price even if they decided to do tomatoes. There has to be some policy of some kind that would favour people who toil and suffer on the ground for government to buy that maize,” he said.
And Nkombo has challenged farmers not to allow government to fool them again when its time for elections.
“I think the way to do it now is for people to learn that a government can do things right for them but maybe in the long run they must consider changing the government maybe people who will be in control at that time when they have changed the government can address their requirements and needs. It’s common knowledge that last year’s prices were inspired by the elections and by now people should know that never again should they be duped simply because it’s an election year,” said Nkombo.