Thursday, September 05, 2013

FRA maize in Chikankata marooned due to poor roads
By Gift Chanda in Chikankata
Mon 12 Aug. 2013, 14:00 CAT

TRANSPORTERS in Chikankata are shunning to ferry maize from satellite depots to the main hoarding depots due to the poor road network, FRA officials have revealed.

Speaking to journalists after touring the Chikombola satellite depot, located about 104 kilometres from the Mazabuka-Chikankata turn-off on Saturday, Stephen Liato, FRA Southern B provincial marketing co-ordinator, bemoaned the poor state of the roads.

He said there was a lot of maize in the area but the road network was hampering its transportation to the main hoarding depot. According to Liato, 4,300 *50kg bags of maize were marooned at Chikombola satellite depot as of Saturday.

"We are trying to reduce on wastage but the roads are hampering our operations here," he said. "The road is extremely bad, so all the possible transporters are shunning this place. There is just one female transporter who has agreed to assist us but she only has four trucks; and out of the four, only two are on the road, so it is a big challenge."

FRA executive director Chola Kafwabulula said it was a pity that such a high maize producing-area could have such poor state of roads.
In addition to the poor road network, the topography of Chikankata - mostly hilly - weighs hard on transportation in the area.

A journey which would otherwise take 15 minutes usually takes over an hour and half.

"Once it starts raining, this area will be cut-off, so we will try as much as possible in the remaining weeks to make sure that all of this maize is moved to a safer storage facility," Kafwabulula said.

He said the safety of the maize depended on the cooperation of transporters to move the maize to safer storage facilities.
"Once transporters being to shun certain routes then we have a problem," he said.

Meanwhile, Kafwabulula was pleased that maize at most satellite depots was being moved to main hoarding depots once they reached the 600*50kg bags as per his instruction.

He said the move would save a lot maize from theft and wastage.
Kafwabulula instructed depot supervisors to ensure that the maize is properly cleaned as some of the stock was destined for export markets in future.

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