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Agriculture Minister Reuben Mtolo says the outstanding K640m for payment to famers who supplied maize to Food Reserve Agency -FRA is available and will soon be released.

And Mr. Mtolo says payments to farmers by FRA- has commenced through various banks countrywide.

Speaking during a press briefing at his office in Lusaka, Mr. Mtolo explained that the K960m that was released this week has been channeled to all the provinces.

Mr. Mtolo has urged all farmers to visit their local banks and begin to collect their money.

Meanwhile, Mr. Mtolo has announced that 26 out of 28 buyers of maize for exports from FRA have been given contracts.

He says 110,000 metric tonnes has been authorized for export at an estimated value of K442m, and that government has given the buyers 10 days to pay, failure to which the contracts will be cancelled.

And Mr. Mtolo said the distribution of D Compound fertilizer under the Farmer Input Support Programme -FISP- is currently at 86 percent, against a contracted total of 214,000 while the distribution of Urea is at 81 percent against the cont
acted total of over 164,000 metric tonnes.

He said the distribution of maize, sorghum and soya bean seed has been completed in all provinces, except groundnut seed, which is at 98 percent.

Meanwhile, Mr. Mtolo said 331 hectares have been affected by the Fall Army Worms in Mkushi District in Central Province

He said the Ministry of Agriculture expects all provinces to eventually be affected by the Fall Army Worm outbreaks due to the prevailing climatic conditions, and has urged farmers to constantly monitor their fields and ensure they apply the recommended chemicals to avoid crop damage.

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