Government has distributed over 90 per cent farming inputs for the 2015/2016 farming season under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP).
Agriculture Minister, Given Lubinda, has assured the farmers in the country that all farmers benefiting from the FISP will receive their inputs before the onset of the rainy season.
Speaking when he addressed hundreds of Choma residents who turned up to celebrate Zambia’s 51st independence anniversary yesterday, Mr Lubinda said government will continue to prioritize the development of the agricultural sector through timely provision of farming inputs.
Mr Lubinda said government realises that most farmers did not perform well in the previous farming season due to poor rainfall patterns and as such government has started the provision of relief food in the affected areas.
“The government is also committed to ensuring that parts of the country which had poor rainfall patterns that resulted in poor harvest does not face hunger. Distribution of relief food has commenced and no Zambian will die of hunger,” he said.
Mr Lubinda said government is, through the transformation agenda, making strides to enhance the effectiveness of the cooperative structures.
He said having an effective cooperative structure will enable the small scale farmers sell their agricultural products at profitable prices.
“Many of our small scale farmers find it difficult to sell their crops because they lack bargaining power, but the transformation of the cooperative movement structures will enhance the cooperative’s bargaining power on behalf of the farmers,” he said.
He also disclosed that all farmers who supplied maize to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) will be paid without delay.
Earlier, the minister expressed disappointment with the attitude exhibited by some political parties who shunned the independence celebrations.
Mr Lubinda said it was unfortunate that councillors in Choma district and the Host Member of Parliament for Choma Central Constituency failed to attend the provincial celebrations.
Mr Lubinda said there is need for various political parties whose existence lies on Zambia’s independence to participate in the celebrations.
“All political parties exist because Zambia attained independence. It is, therefore, a shame for them to shun the independence celebrations,” he said.
Meanwhile, Southern Province Minister, Nathaniel Mubukwanu, said unity is an important aspect of development.
Mr Mubukwanu said for the country to thrive forward in its development, people must put aside their political lines and get united.
He said the country has achieved massive development in the past 51 years due to the peace and unity that those who fought for the country’s independence had.
Mr Mubukwanu said there was need for political parties to learn from freedom fighters who have remained united even after 51 years of independence.
Agriculture Minister, Given Lubinda, graced this year‘s independence celebrations in Southern Province.