ECL officially launches FRA’s 2021 crop marketing season

By John Chipandwe
Republican President of Zambia His Excellency Dr. Edgar Lungu officially launched the Food Reserve Agency’s 2021
Crop Purchase Programme on Thursday, 17 th June, 2021 in Kaoma and expressed happiness that the Ministry of
Agriculture and the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) had heeded to his directive to enter the market early in order to
protect vulnerable farmers from unscrupulous traders who usually swindled them out of their hard earned crops.
President Lungu said this in Kaoma at the Kaoma Main Holding Depot where he officiated at the official launch of this
year’s crop purchasing programme.
“Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, let me now briefly touch on the 2021 National Food Reserve Agency crop
purchasing programme. I am glad that the Ministry of Agriculture and the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) responded
swiftly to my directive for the Agency to enter the market early. This is important because vulnerable farmers will be
protected from unscrupulous traders who usually swindle farmers out of their hard earned crops. Going forward, I urge
the Food Reserve Agency to establish as many satellite depots as possible, as this will bring the Agency’s buying
points closer to farmers. My Government will ensure that the Food Reserve Agency is adequately funded so that
farmers are paid on time. Delayed payments must remain in the past!” the President said.
“From the outset, I wish to appreciate the hardworking men, women and youths who have contributed significantly to
the outstanding crop performance in the 2020/2021 agricultural season. I am proud of the country’s record breaking
bumper harvest of our major staple maize and soya beans. In addition, the production of many other crops recorded
significant growth. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the exceptional performance in the production of various crops
is a clear demonstration that the agriculture sector is responding to the deliberate policies that my government has
been implementing. Agricultural activities are time sensitive; and because of this, my government has prioritised early
distribution of farming inputs, under the farmer input support programme.  I am sure by now you must have come
across trucks distributing fertilizer. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, you may wish to know that the increased
production we have recorded in the 2020/2021 agricultural season is due to timely payments to farmers that supplied
crops to the Food Reserve Agency. Unlike in previous seasons, when payments were delayed, government has since
shortened the process of paying farmers, and ensured fair and competitive prices are offered. It is, therefore, pleasing
to observe that various stakeholders countrywide have expressed happiness with the prices the Food Reserve Agency
is offering for commodities such as maize, which is priced at 150 kwacha per 50 kg bag, and soya beans at 500
kwacha per 50 kg bag.  With these prices, I am confident that farmers will be encouraged to continue producing
strategic crops in an effort to enhance food security and income generation,” Dr. Lungu said. 

H.E President of the Republic of Zambia Dr. Edgar Lungu (right), FRA CEO Mr. Chola Kafwabulula (second right) with other officials
and some FRA workers at Kaoma Depot during the launch

President Lungu further said there was no doubt that farmers deserved to make a decent profit for farming to become
sustainable. The President assured farmers that his government will continue to champion their interests in a quest to
fully transform the country’s agriculture sector. 
“Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, as government, we are pleased with the growing interest among citizens to
engage in agricultural activities.  This is how it should be! For us to stir economic growth, we need more and more
citizens to cultivate interest in agricultural activities.  Once all of us get interested in agricultural production, then the
path to making our country self-reliant in agriculture and becoming the region’s bread basket is not far-fetched. With a
flourishing agriculture sector, Zambia is assured of wealth and job creation including, sustained food security at
household and national levels.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, let me now briefly touch on the 2021 national Food Reserve Agency crop
purchasing programme. I am glad that the Ministry of Agriculture and the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) responded
swiftly to my directive for FRA to enter the market early. This is important because vulnerable farmers will be protected
from unscrupulous traders who usually swindle farmers out of their hard earned crops. Going forward, I urge the Food
Reserve Agency to establish as many satellite depots as possible as this will bring the Agency’s buying points closer
to farmers. My government will ensure that the Food Reserve Agency is adequately funded so that farmers are paid
on time.  Delayed payments must remain in the past, President Lungu said.
The President concluded his remarks by reminding farmers and stakeholders that the country and the world at large
was living in the most dangerous times were everyone was confronted by the deadly COVID 19 pandemic.
“It is, therefore, imperative that all players involved in crop marketing ensure necessary precautions are taken to
protect lives and reduce the spread of Covid-19. I further wish to appeal to the Food Reserve Agency to lead by
example, by adhering to the health guidelines which have been put in place to promote the health and safety of
members of staff including, farmers who will supply crops this season. It is our collective duty to safeguard the lives of
everyone as we carry out essential public services like crop purchasing by the Food Reserve Agency. With these
remarks, it is now my singular honour and privilege to officially launch the 2021 crop purchasing programme of the
Food Reserve Agency. May God bless you all, the President concluded.