Njala, people tell President Hichilema


Njala, people tell President Hichilema
…model being advocated by President Hichilema is stocking social unrest…

By Amb. Emmanuel Mwamba
I have heard the last few days this lie repeated by President Hichilema that farmers abandoned growing of maize due to low prevailing prices.

He states that his Government has therefore chosen to increase the floor price of maize to make farmers benefit and return more to growing of maize!

A patent lie.

UPND found maize grain reserves of 1.5million metric tonnes with a bumper harvest of 3.2million metric tonnes on the way and therefore a cheap price of K120 for a 50kg bag of mealie-meal.
It’s now at K305.


The Fertiliser Support Programme (FSP) was introduced in 2002 as a subsidy to supply agricultural inputs to support 120,000 vulnerable, but viable small-scale farmers.

The subsidy focused on the distribution of maize seed and fertiliser to farmers as a way of contributing to increased household food security and income for the farmers.

The number of beneficiaries steadily grew over the years and by 2009/2010 farming season, the programme had 500,000 beneficiaries.
Remember, Government increased the subsidy and jumped the number of beneficiaries from 500,000 to 1.1million small-holder farmers.
The immediate impact was an increase in the level of production of maize from 1.8 million metric tonnes to 2.7 million metric tonnes.
Maize production continued to shoot up and for the first time, Zambia recorded a bumper harvest beyond 3million metric tonnes in (2019, 2020 and 2021) despite challenges of droughts and floods in certain parts of the country.

The current crisis and maize shortage is steeped in UPND Government’s own reckless decisions of exporting almost the entire national maize grain reserve, chaotic, late and corrupt procurement and distribution of fertilizer( in medas) that forced farmers to switch to Soya Beans to avoid losses.

Further the sudden increase of growing of Soya was not a substitute to maize.
Increasing Soya Beans production was a deliberate government programme to meet local Soya Beans demand for the edible oil sub-sector and stock feed industry as part of national industrialisation.

Further soya production was promoted as intercrop with maize. The Maize/soybean is part of the promotion of sustainable farming and the strip intercropping enriches soils, produces higher crop yields and saves water under semi-arid conditions.

It is clear that Zambians must get used to the high cost of mealie-meal prices for the next few years as there is no hope or programme in sight to lower price of inputs and consequent lower maize prices.


The model being envisaged and promoted by President Hichilema of maize production for higher prices is the IMF model that benefit commercial farmers, removes government subsidies for small-holder farmers and has previously failed.

This model fails because the majority of citizens do not have jobs or sustainable incomes to afford high mealie-meal prices and to foolishly assume everyone will go back to the land and grow their own maize is to deliberately stock social unrest.

This new model is predictable, Government will likely shrink beneficiaries of subsidy inputs drastically to be like it was before, hence the talk of w
Time to interrogate the so called switch from FISP to Comprehensive Agriculture Support Programme (CASP).


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