By Kalobwe Bwalya
GOVERNMENT has so far released K503 million to pay farmers leaving a balance of K117 million which will be settled in a few days.
Agriculture Minister Dora Siliya told Parliament yesterday that the remaining K117 million would be paid to farmers in the next few days.
Ms Siliya said this in response to Chinsali Member of Parliament Mukosa Kasalwe during question for oral answer who wanted to know how much money has been paid to the farmers as of November 15 2017 and why the payments has been delayed.
In response the minister said the payment was caused by treasury constraint and that she has since directed FRA to expedite the process.
Ms Siliya said the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) purchased 516, 863 metric tons of maize valued at K620, 235, 720.00 from 60, 355 farmers.
She said out of K620, 235,720, only K103, 241, 241 had been paid to 14, 589 farmers and leaving a balance of K516, 994, 590 with yesterday K400 million payment bringing the balance to K117 million.
Ms Siliya said Government will this year support 1,000 farmers stating that the e-voucher system programme has been a success.
And Ms Siliya said she was aware of storage sheds challenges in the country and her ministry has engaged ministry of Finance to transform FRA storage sheds dotted across the country and are on slab level into decent ware housing.
“We are in touch with ministry of Finance to ensure that storage sheds that are on slab level can be transformed into decent ware housing,” said Ms Siliya.