Senior Chief Nsokolo of the Mambwe people in Mbala District in Northern Province is saddened at reports suggesting that the Food Reserve Agency local office has run out of money to pay about 4,000 local farmers in the area for the grain they supplied to the Quasi-Government institution.
The traditional leader has stated of the 98 percent of farmers that supplied maize for sale to FRA, a paltry five percent of them have been paid and the rest have not been advised when payments will be ready.
He says this ‘desperate situation’ has forced the farmers to demand that they be given back the maize currently stockpiled at the local FRA depot so as to be sold elsewhere to avoid losing out on their money.
Senior chief nsokolo says the unexpected rainfall recorded in most parts of the District in recent days has compounded the situation, forcing farmers to demand that they either be paid immediately or have their maize supplied to FRA given back to them for either export to other countries re-sell to other interested parties.
He says the “Briefcase Businessmen” have also taken advantage and are making huge profits by selling the maize at exorbitant prices to those in need of the grain other than the Government’s approved 65, 000kacha per 50 kilogram bag.
Additionally, senior chief nsokolo says some named opposition political officials have taken advantage of the desperate situation and are going round the affected farmers, urging them to ‘divert’ their energies from maize growing and instead grow Cassava and Millet during the coming farming season and avoid ‘losing out’.
He has since urged the Government and the leadership in Mbala to urgently seek a solution to the problem before the onset of the coming farming season and the rains which have been recorded in most areas in the Chiefdom.