|An FRA depot|
The Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has in the first seven days of this year’s maize marketing season bought 65,000 of 50 Kilogram bags of maize from the targeted 225,000 bags in Kapiri Mposhi District of Central Province.
The 2015 Maize Marketing Season opened on Monday last week.
This follows the improvement in the moisture content in maize.
Farmers countrywide are now selling their maize to both the Food Reserve Agency and private buyers.
This year, the Food Reserve Agency is buying a 50 KG bag at K75.
Payment for the farmers is made 14 days after the maize is delivered to the FRA.
But the farmers in Kapiri Mposhi want the payment period to be shortened.
"We want FRA to help us if they can pay us early. We want to use the money for our children who are going for school," said John Kapesa, a local farmer.
Those who cannot wait for the two weeks payment period offered by the FRA are now flocking to private buyers.
Greenbelt Fertilisers is one of the buyers in Kapiri Mposhi.
Due to their instant payment for maize delivered by farmers, this company is attracting hundreds of trucks full of the commodity.
Some of the farmers here come from far flung areas and they spend days on the queue.
From the number of farmers selling maize to Greenbelt Fertilisers, it is clear that farmers prefer fast cash than waiting for FRA to pay them in 14 days.
This year’s maize marketing season has created many jobs.
At Greenbelt Fertilisers, women job seekers spend hours outside the depot seeking for employment.
"I have been here for three months waiting to be given any job. These people are not employing us," said Jane Kabwe.
At FRA satellite depots, casual workers who load bags of maize are paid 30 ngwee per 50 KG.
This amount has now become a controversial issue.
The casuals want it increased.
The Food Reserve Agency is targeting to buy 225,000 bags of maize in Kapiri Mposhi this year.