Only three percent of the farming community in Gwembe will benefit from the 240 packs of farming inputs received under the 2008-2009 Fertilizer Support Program (FSP) because of insufficient number.
Speaking at the flagging-off ceremony in Gwembe, District commissioner Dorothy Hamvula said Government was aware that the inputs allocated to the District were insufficient, adding that efforts were being made to source for more inputs.
“My office is aware that the inputs allocated to Gwembe will only cater for three percent of the farming community, and my office will support all efforts to source more inputs,” she said.
She observed that it was unfortunate that some co-operatives were only seen to be active at the time of input distribution.
“Unfortunately, for some co-operatives this becomes their only active , they do nothing to promote growth of their co-operatives, some of them even fail to hold Annual General Meetings” Mrs Hamvula said.
She advised the Co-operatives to develop enterprises that can provide services to the community, in order to generate more money for themselves.
She also called on the beneficiaries of the inputs to utilize the packs for the production of the staple food (maize), saying that her office would not take kindly to anyone found selling the inputs, as the program was aimed at enhancing household and subsequently national food security.
And speaking at the same occasion, District Agriculture Community Chairman Simeon Mungazi said the 240 packs of FSP inputs received in Gwembe would benefit 29 farmer co-operatives groups.
“Last year only 21 co-operatives benefited, this year 29 will benefit, but the amount of inputs received is not enough, we need at least 600 packs,” he noted.
Mr. Mungazi appealed to Government to consider scaling up the program to cover not less than 1,000 beneficiaries in the District.
He implored the farmer co-operatives to utilize the inputs to ensure increased production of maize from the current two tones per hectare, to at least five tones per hectare.
And District Co-operatives Officer Emmanuel Mulenga said it was regrettable to note that 97 percent of the farmer co-operatives would go without inputs this year.
He appealed to Government to consider scaling up the exercise to benefit at least 10 percent of households in the District, as a measure aimed at reducing the dependency on relief food.