An additional 162, 572 farmers will benefit from the maize packs under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) for the 2015-2016 Agricultural season.
This means that the number of farmers to benefit under the conventional FISP program has increased from the current 598, 723 to 761, 295 beneficiary farmers.
Agriculture Minister Given Lubinda says this entails that in addition to the 214, 000 farmers that are under the e-voucher system for newly introduced crops, the total targeted beneficiary farmers under FISP has equally increased from the 1, 000, 000 targeted in the 2014-2015 season to 1, 162, 572 in the 2015-2016 Agricultural season.
Mr. Lubinda has told Parliament in a ministerial statement this afternoon that this review implies that areas such as Mafinga constituency which had only 6, 583 farmers under FISP, will now have 8, 370 farmers receiving support under the program.
He has explained that this undertaking of increasing the number of beneficiary farmers will require an additional 32, 514.4 metric tons of fertilizer and 1, 625.72 metric tons of maize seed.
Mr. Lubinda says with the exception of the maize seed, all the required quantities of fertilizer have already been procured by government.
He notes that an estimated total of K42 million will however be required to procure the additional maize seed and K11 million to move the seed and the fertilizer across the country.
And Mr. Lubinda has also disclosed that in view of the high prices of fertilizer in the Country, government has directed the Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ) to produce 44, 000 metric tons of Compound D fertilizer for the open commercial market.
Mr. Lubinda says the NCZ open commercial market fertilizer which will be made available to agro dealers across the Country, will be priced at not more than K320 per 50Kg bag.
He has warned that any agro dealer, who will increase the price of this fertilizer beyond the stated K320 per 50Kg bag, will be penalized by not being sold any further stock by NCZ.