FRA maize buying fears misplaced

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FOOD security, which basically refers to the availability of sufficient food and people’s easy access to it is one of the major backbones of any nation.

This is an important and sensitive issue because food security borders on matters of the stomach and, therefore, affects everybody, regardless of political affiliation.
In Zambia, food security is centered on the availability of maize grain, the country’s staple food and whether the nation has adequate stocks at any given time.
As usual, this year’s crop marketing season is on and both the FRA and private buyers, including millers are busy buying the commodity from farmers.
But already, there are public fears that the FRA may not manage to buy sufficient maize grain from around the country during this year’s crop marketing season because it started the buying exercise late.
Some people were concerned that by the time the agency embarked on the buying exercise, private buyers will have already started buying the maize from farmers.
But contrary to these assertions, Government says it is confident the FRA will still buy sufficient maize despite the high presence of private buyers, who have already invaded the rural areas.
Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Bob Sichinga yesterday assured the nation that FRA would still buy adequate maize grain from farmers despite fears in some sections of society that private buyers were already buying the commodity.
While the concerns, which naturally border on food insecurity, are appreciated, this is not the case and there is no cause for alarm.
Just as the minister rightly observed, the FRA started buying the commodity at an opportune time as is always the case every year.
This is because unlike private buyers or millers, who rush to buy the maize, the FRA is required to wait for the maize to have FOOD security, which basically refers to the availability of sufficient food and people’s easy access to it is one of the major backbones of any nation.
This is an important and sensitive issue because food security borders on matters of the stomach and, therefore, affects everybody, regardless of political affiliation.
In Zambia, food security is centered on the availability of maize grain, the country’s staple food and whether the nation has adequate stocks at any given time.
As usual, this year’s crop marketing season is on and both the FRA and private buyers, including millers are busy buying the commodity from farmers.
But already, there are public fears that the FRA may not manage to buy sufficient maize grain from around the country during this year’s crop marketing season because it started the buying exercise late.
Some people were concerned that by the time the agency embarked on the buying exercise, private buyers will have already started buying the maize from farmers.
But contrary to these assertions, Government says it is confident the FRA will still buy sufficient maize despite the high presence of private buyers, who have already invaded the rural areas.
Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Bob Sichinga yesterday assured the nation that FRA would still buy adequate maize grain from farmers despite fears in some sections of society that private buyers were already buying the commodity.
While the concerns, which naturally border on food insecurity, are appreciated, this is not the case and there is no cause for alarm.
Just as the minister rightly observed, the FRA started buying the commodity at an opportune time as is always the case every year.
This is because unlike private buyers or millers, who rush to buy the maize, the FRA is required to wait for the maize to have the right moisture content before starting the buying exercise.
This is a determining factor every crop marketing season because FRA stored the maize for a long time.
We, therefore, concur with Mr Sichinga that the FRA was well on course with the buying exercise and fears that FRA had delayed to start the buying exercise were baseless.
Given this background, there’s nothing strange about the FRA starting to buy the maize grain after the private buyers as this happens every crop marketing season.
Based on this, we also agree with Mr Sichinga that it was not possible for the FRA to go well-ahead of the private buyers to buy the commodity under these circumstances.
What is important, however, is that the FRA has gone flat-out and has started buying the maize from farmers around the country.
We can only urge the FRA to forge ahead and ensure that all the maize, regardless of  where it  is, it is collected and properly stored to avoid any wastage during the rainy season.

right moisture content before starting the buying exercise.
This is a determining factor every crop marketing season because FRA stored the maize for a long time.
We, therefore, concur with Mr Sichinga that the FRA was well on course with the buying exercise and fears that FRA had delayed to start the buying exercise were baseless.
Given this background, there’s nothing strange about the FRA starting to buy the maize grain after the private buyers as this happens every crop marketing season.
Based on this, we also agree with Mr Sichinga that it was not possible for the FRA to go well-ahead of the private buyers to buy the commodity under these circumstances.
What is important, however, is that the FRA has gone flat-out and has started buying the maize from farmers around the country.
We can only urge the FRA to forge ahead and ensure that all the maize, regardless of  where it  is, it is collected and properly stored to avoid any wastage during the rainy season.

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