MoA, Hon Michael Katambo unveils new FRA Board

On 4 th May, 2021 the Minister of Agriculture, Honourable Micheal Katambo announced the newly appointed Board of Directors of the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) in Lusaka. The Board comprises eleven (11) members chaired by Mr Kelvin Hambwezya who was elected to the position at the event and is being deputised by Mrs. Mable Simwanza.

The Minister was optimistic that the newly appointed Board of Directors is equal to the task and will support Government’s efforts in safeguarding National Strategic Food Reserves (NSFRs). He hoped that the newly appointed Board of Directors will be able to provide strategic direction and policy guidance which will support FRA in effectively executing its mandate of managing national food and nutrition security.

He also made reference to previous years when some players in the industry regarded FRA as a marketing wing to cater for their needs but was happy that the trend was curtailed. He encouraged the new Board to continue implementing measures that would completely inhibit the culture of millers looking to FRA to provide for their requirements.

In addition to other responsibilities of the Board, Government expects the Board to provide oversight and leadership in the following areas:

i. The Food Reserve Agency should always ensure that it enters the market early and provides a decent market for small-scale farmers. Of late and out of desperation, some farmers have been selling their crops and fields cheaply and way too early to facilitate proper price discovery. Government therefore expects the Board and management of FRA to ensure mechanisms are put in place to provide a ready market for small scale farmers, especially for the vulnerable in remote areas.

ii. The Board and management of FRA is expected to oversee reduction in overhead and operational costs of the Agency. Government desires that the maize purchasing programme of FRA is done efficiently, and in a manner that reduces overhead and operational costs. The Minister therefore directed the Board to immediately carry out an assessment of the cost structures of the Agency in line with all cabinet management circulars as would ensure Government realizes value for money in the operations of the
Agency; and that
iii. FRA should always ensure that the institution and the private sector operate as strategic partners in executing the Agency’s mandate. The Board is therefore urged to ensure that FRA market operations avoid unnecessary distortions and are endorsed by the industry. It is therefore, for this reason that Government has appointed private sector representatives to serve on the Board of FRA.

The Minister directed the Board Chairperson and the Executive Director of the Agency to quickly organise a familiarisation exercise which will ensure that the Board is familiar with the operations of the Agency and the contents of the Food Reserve Agency Act of 2020. This is to ensure that the Board is taken through procedures and good corporate governance practices.

Mr Katambo also stated that the President directed that priority be given to strengthening of institutional systems and provision of a decent market for small-scale farmers. Mr. Katambo concluded by extending his best wishes to the new Board of FRA as it begun to execute its functions and mandate and wished them God’s blessings.