Sunday, September 01, 2013

Petauke farmers seek early payment from FRA
By Gift Chanda in Petauke
Sun 04 Aug. 2013, 14:00 CAT

FARMERS in Petauke have called for early payment for the maize supplied to the Food Reserve Agency this year. The farmers said they did not expect a repeat of last year's situation where they had to unjustly wait for more than five months to be paid their dues.

But FRA executive director, Chola Kafwabulula assured farmers countrywide that they would be paid within 10 days upon supplying the maize.

"Our biggest concern is on the payment period. We have no problem with the way the marketing season has been handled so far. I think it is going on well but we want assurance that we will be paid early this time around," Aliani Daka said on behalf of the farmers found selling maize to FRA at Musanzala satellite depot outside Petauke boma.

"We want to be paid on time so that we can also plan properly for the coming farming season. We have fertiliser and seeds to buy but we cannot do it without the money. "
Another farmer, Pamela Sakala, highlighted some of the challenges some farmers usually go through as a result of delayed payments.

"We cannot take our children to school because we don't get our money," she said.

But Kafwabulula assured the farmers that FRA would operate differently from the way it operated last year regarding the crop marketing exercise.

"In this year's programme, we will be paying the farmers within 10 days of delivery of the crop," he said.

"In the old system, we were paying much later than the 10 days but in this particular system, we should be able to pay within 10 days and it will be through the bank."
He said the government had already released part of the money for payments to farmers.

"As at yesterday Wednesday we had bought a total of 744,000 fifty kg bags of maize and in terms of the money to be paid that is in the region of K35 million and that money is in the banks right now," said Kafwabulula.

FRA, which is buying a 50kg bag of maize at K65, plans to purchase 500,000 metric tonnes for strategic reserve.

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