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Govt releases K400m to pay farmers

AGRICULTURE minister Dora Siliya has told Parliament that K400 million has been released by the Ministry of Finance towards payment of farmers who sold maize to the Food Reserve Agency this year.

In an oral question in Parliament yesterday, Chinsali Central PF member of parliament Kalalwe Mukosa asked Siliya how much money the agency was owing the Zambian farmers for the maize it purchased in the 2016/2017 farming season.

He also asked how much money had been paid to farmers as at November 15 and why the payment had been delayed.

Mukosa also sought answers when all the farmers would be paid, considering that the 2017/2018 has already begun.

In response, Siliya told the House that the marketing season for the FRA came to an end on October 27.

“The Agency purchased 516,863 metric tonnes of maize valued at K620,235,720 from 60,355 farmers. Out of the K620,235,720, the value of the purchased maize – K103,241,130 – has been paid to 14,580 farmers already, leaving a balance K516,994,590,” disclosed Siliya.

“As of today (Tuesday), the 28th of November, 2017, [the] Ministry of Finance released K400 million to pay the farmers and the Ministry of Agriculture this afternoon begun moving this money to the FRA for onward disbursement to the farmers and this will leave a balance of only K117 million, which we also expect to pay the farmers in the next few days. The delay [to pay the farmers] was caused by Treasury constraints.”

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