The Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) has spent K8.9 billion in purchase of 45,000 metric tonnes of maize.
In an interview Tuesday, Admarc spokesperson, Agness Chikoko, said the state grain trader is still procuring the commodity in some parts of the country.
“Our target is to buy over 200,000 metric tonnes and we believe we will achieve that because there is a lot of maize in the system. There were some hiccups with the recent election but everything is smooth now that the election is over.
“…also there is a provision for funds for Admarc in the recently approved provisional budget which we believe will help us achieve the targeted volumes,” Chikoko said.
She said Admarc already received nearly K8 billion from the government for the exercise and the rest were funds realised from some of its commercial activities.
Presenting the provisional budget in parliament last week, Minister of Finance, Felix Mlusu, said the government has allocated resources for Admarc to purchase maize and other farm produce from farmers.
He said in addition to the allocated resources, the parastatal will also be allowed to borrow from t h e commercial banks which will provide smallholder farmers with a reliable market to sell their farm produce.
The 2020 maize output in the country stands at around 3.7 million tonnes which is nine percent above the 2019 outturn.
Maize is t h e country’s staple crop and contributes 45.2 percent in the basic needs basket.
An Emergency Agriculture and Food Security Surveillance System Bulletin released recently by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (Fao) indicated that the average price of maize per kilogramme was estimated at K162.89 which is a two percent increase from K159.53 per kg recorded in the week ending on May 31.
However, the government pegged the minimum price of maize per killogramme at K200 a t the beginning of the harvesting season.
Admarc was mandated to procure maize from farmers at the beginning of the harvesting season to protect farmers from exploitation by vendors who offer low prices.