Zambian Small Scale Famers Network Limited (ZSSFN) says it has called for a post mortem on the farmers input support programme (FISP) organized by state under 2017 to 2018 farming season.
Zambian Small Scale Famers Network Limited Executive Director Edward Nsama says this is because the FISP programme has not brought up satisfactory results to beneficiaries and the government’s expectations.
In a press statement made available to ZANIS in Lusaka today, the Zambian Small Scale Famers Network Limited Executive Director said though the move by government to come up with the E- Voucher programme was a good initiative, a lot of challenges have been faced ever since the programme was introduced.
Mr. Nsama added in the same statement that some of the challenges faced includes unnecessary delay in the release of funds to small farmers, inclusion of agro dealers in the farming input support programme has just created opportunities for them to benefit more than farmers.
He further explained that the most of the banks that were appointed by the government to administer the finance to small farmers have no structures or proximity to peasant farmers especially who he said are the owners of the money.
He reiterated that FISP still has a lot of ghost farmers because of no proper screening done by chiefs and headmen of would be members of co-operatives at the community level registration point.
Meanwhile, the Zambian Small Scale Famers Network Limited has come up with endorsement in order for government to make enhancement on the programme system successful through institutions such as Zampost.
“Government should accord agriculture first priority by releasing funds to small holder farmers as early as June/July every year in order to enable them prepare properly and Zampost should be a bank that government chooses to facilitate in the quick service delivery on the E-Voucher FISP,” he said.
Mr. Nsama added that government should incorporate co-operatives as Agro-dealers to avoid many middle-men in the process which has he said made the inputs to be expensive and deprive famers the number of bags of fertilizer that they are required to get as parcelled.
He further explained that government should include traditional leaders who are the key players in the FISP for approval of co-operative members in their chiefdoms for better accountability and avoid ghost beneficiaries.
He added that ZSSFN is in support of government’s national agriculture policy to strengthen public and private sector institutional capabilities to improve agriculture policy implementation, resource mobilization, agriculture research, technology dissemination and implementation of regulatory services.
ZSSFN is appealing to the ministry of agriculture by statutes and law for consideration to participate as national supplier for the 2018/2019 farming season with a budget lie of approximately USD 150,000,000.00 to purchase about 300,000 tonnes of compound ‘D’ and urea fertilizer respectively.