24 December 2012

Zambia: FRA to Speed Up Payments

THE Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has resolved to effect cash to all unpaid farmers through the provincial administration's office on the Copperbelt.

The agency has said additional staff members with some senior managers from FRA head office have been sent to the Copperbelt to attend to unpaid farmers who should be paid within one week.

This is contained in a statement released by FRA public relations unit yesterday.

The agency has enough funds and all funds owed to farmers have since been disbursed to banks.

However, a few farmers have not yet been paid due to administrative reasons such as farmers submitting wrong bank account numbers. The agency is currently addressing these issues.

In the 2012 crop purchasing exercise, FRA received 864,991 tonnes of maize. This represented about 86 per cent of the targeted purchase quantity.

By December 17, this year FRA had bought 1,045,897 tonnes of maize worth K1.360 trillion against the targeted one million tonnes.

"Against this value, a total of K1.367 trillion has been disbursed for payments to farmers leaving an excess balance of K7 billion. In previous years, such tonnage would be achieved after three to four months and in some cases extensions to the marketing season have had to be made to achieve the targeted quantities," the statement said.

This means that the agency had not run out of funds during the marketing programme as was the case in earlier years.

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