NFRA Still Renovating Luchenza, Mzuzu Silos
The National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) says is hopeful that the maize silos which have decayed over the past decade in Mzuzu and Luchenza in Thyolo will be ready soon to store the current harvest.
Speaking to Zodiak Online on Friday NFRA's Chief executive officer Brenda Kayongo, said the Authority has already procured the chain conveyors which are on their way from Germany to commence the renovation of the silos thereafter.
"The renovations are still in progress. The major works that we are doing are to replace the chain conveyors," Kayongo assured.
However, this comes as the government has now released K12 billion to NFRA to start buying maize from farmers.
Earlier, an agriculture expert from Farmers Organisation Limited, Ronald Chilumpha told us it is too late to be renovating the silos now to store the current harvest.
Chilumpha warned that the country may risk a repeat of what happened some years ago when tons of maize got rotten in the silos; thereby, threatening food security.
"We are not on track, surely we are not on track. This was supposed to be done some months ago. We cannot be preparing the silos now when the farmers have already started harvesting. This crop is due for storage and the silos are not ready.
"So, we shouldn't be talking about the current produce. This is the sign of poor planning. And we know we have lost produce before in those silos. This is one of the factors that normally contribute to such loses," he warned.
It is estimated that the country loses over 400, 000 metric tons of maize annually, owing to poor storage facilities, particularly by smallholder farmers.
Luchenza silos were commissioned in 2010 and were last used in 2011 due to leakages and high moisture content while Mzuzu silos were commissioned in 2011 and were last used in 2012.