THE best route to take is for the FRA to come to the negotiating table with farmers, failure to which we will continue holding on to our maize until we get a better price, says ZNFU vice-president Austin Shinachize. And Sinachize says ZNFU is ready to meet FRA in court if that is the route the agency wants to take to resolve the pricing dispute.
In a statement, Shinachize stated that the Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) would still go ahead and prompt farmers to hold on to their maize until they get a better price. He stated that ZNFU was relishing the Food Reserve Agency (FRA)’s threat of legal action over their concerns over the poor maize market price of K60 for 50kg bag.
Sinachize stated that farmers were the owners of the commodity and were ready to be sued for refusing to sell their crop for a pittance.
“The buyer cannot dictate the price at which to buy the crop. The producer, the seller should,”
“The best route to take is for the FRA to come to the negotiating table with farmers, failure to which we will continue holding onto our maize until we get a better price.”
He stated that if FRA thought the solution lies in the court process, ZNFU was ready to face them.
“But as far as ZNFU is concerned, we are still waiting for a meeting with the Minister of Agriculture [Dora Siliya] whom we wrote a letter to, so that the farmers’ cry can be heard,” stated Sinachize.
“We will still go ahead and prompt the farmers to hold on to their maize until we get a better price. No amount of pressure or threats will stop farmers from getting a good price because farmers have been patriotic to mother Zambia for growing the staple crop and need to regenerate money for further investments.”
ZNFU president Jervis Zimba last week stated that the K60 FRA was offering for a 50 kilogramme bag of maize was tantamount to swindling farmers. The union further advised the farmers not to sell their maize to FRA and wait until such a time when the commodity’s price would be attractive.
But FRA threatened to sue ZNFU for alleged defamation, with its director Chola Kafwabulula saying the agency had taken enough of the farmers’ body’s complaints on prices.