In 1995, the Zambian government helped set up a national market-oriented economic system. Specifically this led to the liberalisation of the marketing and storage of agricultural produce, with the government reducing its participation. However the government’s involvement in the agricultural sector still includes the maintenance of food security reserves, run by the Food Reserve Agency. FRA also provides market support, and the provision of relevant market information and agricultural credit facilities to small-scale farmers.
The Food Reserve Agency (FRA) was established to ensure a reliable supply and meet local shortfalls in the supply of designated agricultural commodities. This agency also addresses issues affecting the food reserve and the stabilisation of prices. FRA's goal is to complete the value chain by providing market access to small scale farmers in rural areas.
A national strategic food reserve agency
Meeting food emergencies caused by drought, floods, or any other natural disaster
Providing market access to small scale farmers in rural areas
The main functions of the Food Reserve Agency is to administer strategic food reserves, engage in market facilitation as well as develop and manage national storage facilities. According to the Food Reserve Act, the FRA was established as a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal, capable of suing and of being sued in its corporate name. FRA has power to do all such acts and things as a body corporate may by law do or perform.
The purpose of the national strategic food reserve is to ensure a reliable supply of grains for the country and to meet local shortfalls as well as other food emergencies caused by drought, floods and other natural disasters.
The agricultural marketing policy of the government is reflected in the FRA Act. It contains provisions, which aim at creating the necessary conditions to encourage the private sector to develop efficient agricultural production and marketing systems, while curtailing the direct intervention and control by government agencies and institutions. The FRA, therefore, is the implementing body of the Food Reserve Act.
Administer the national food reserve
Establish a market information system of stocks of designated commodities for the national strategic food reserve
Promote the use of approved standards of weighing and grading for designated agricultural commodities in accordance with the Weights and Measures Act and the Standards Act
Establish and conduct a programme under which storage facilities and equipment owned by the government may be leased or sold
To assess storage requirements for marketing a designated agricultural commodity and plan for their establishments as needed
Undertake such other functions as the minister responsible for agriculture may assign to the agency
The agency shall, in addition to such other actions as maybe necessary to administer the national strategic food reserve, purchase, import, sell, or trade in any agricultural commodity
Notwistanding any provision of any other law, the agency may enter into a contract with any person for the purpose of performing any o its functions under the Act.
The Food Reserve Agency (FRA) procures a wide selection of crops, especially maize from farmers across the country. Their marketing department is charged with the core responsibility of managing the national strategic food reserves. It is composed of four units namely standards and quality, market information, operations and monitoring as well as evaluation.
Agency procures a wide selection of crops, especially maize from farmers
Managing the national strategic food reserves
Increasing farmer net earnings hence improved living standards
The Food Reserve Agency (FRA) is a major grain buyer in Zambia. The agency efficiently manages sustainable national strategic food reserves, ensuring national food security and income through the provision of complementary and high quality marketing and storage services, in line with international standards.
FRA completes the value chain by providing market access to small scale farmers in rural areas which results in the following benefits:
Increased farmer net earnings hence improved living standards
Increased food production and household food security
FRA creates massive seasonal employment for rural women and youths during the marketing season
FRA influences growth from small to emergent farmer category
FRA facilitates asset accumulation
Food Reserve Agency (FRA) units
Standards and quality - Spearheads the promotion and use of approved standards of weighing and grading for designated agricultural commodities in accordance with the Weights and Measures Act and the Standards Act.
Market information - Manages and maintains a market information system on crop marketing of designated agricultural commodities.
Operations - Responsible for all logistics related to the identification and operation of buying depots, purchase and sale of designated agricultural designated commodities and assessment and determination of optimum strategic reserve stock levels held in the provinces.
Monitoring and evaluation - Responsible for monitoring the implementation of the FRA annual work plans and crop marketing activities in accordance with the strategic objectives of the FRA.
After procurement, it is critical that necessary measures are put in place to store grains for long periods of time without spoilage. To this effect, FRA working with the government has constructed a good number of storage facilities across the country. The goal is to ensure that everything that is harvested by the farmer is easily transported and stored properly.
Storage facilities across the country
Effective grain storage techniques
Agency ensures that crops purchased do not go to waste
The Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has constructed silos, sheds and slabs to preserve grains from the time they are procured until they are needed for consumption. This ensures a continuous flow in the market in case of a shortage and also stabilises prices.
FRA has managed to reduce crop wastage in areas where storage facilities have been built. The agency is proud that cases of crop wastage in the country have drastically reduced due to its continuous construction of storage facilities.