[By Noel Iyombwa]
THE country has enough maize stock to carter for the next 12 months, says agriculture minister Reuben Mtolo.
Addressing journalists in Lusaka yesterday, Mtolo assured that in case of a drought, the country had enough maize stock to feed the nation for a year.
“The country has enough maize stock to see us through for the next 12 months and we will not sale the maize to start importing again,” he said.
He said K960 million had been released to pay farmers in all the 10 provinces.
And Mtolo disclosed that 26 out of 28 maize buyers for export from the Food Reserve Agency have been given contracts for the authorised 110,600 metric tonnes.
He said the estimated value of the maize export was K442.4 million.
Mtolo said the buyers had been given 10 days in which to pay, failure to which contracts would be terminated.
“We will ensure a smooth transfer of funds to farmers who are owed money by FRA. It is also important that I assure the nation that the funds are available for this exercise,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mtolo said the distribution of D compound fertilizer under the Farmer Input Support Programme was currently standing at 86 per cent against a contracted total of 214,722 metric tonnes.
He added that the distribution of Urea fertiliser was at 81 per cent against the contracted total of 164,847 metric tonnes.
Mtolo said some 331 hectares of land had so far been affected by army worms in Mkushi district of Central Province.
He warned that due to prevailing climatic conditions it was expected that all the 10 provinces would be affected.
Mtolo however, said the ministry was actively monitoring events as they developed, and that appropriate action would be taken to stop the spread of the pests in each province.