Over 15,000 Electronic Voucher (E-Voucher) cards received by the Department of Agriculture in Monze District have been distributed in 21 agriculture camps.
The cards being issued would help farmers to access farming inputs under the government sponsored Farmer Input Support programe (FISP) from agro-dealers in districts were the pilot project is been implemented.
In an interview with ZANIS today, Monze District Agriculture Coordinator Mr. Justine Ngosa said the distribution of cards was on-going adding that the District was awaiting the balance of 9,400 E-Voucher cards allocated to the district to cater for 27,427 small-scale farmers in the District.
“ We have so far successfully distributed over 15,000 out of 17,000 E-Voucher cards received in the District to farmers in 21 agriculture camps and the exercise is on-going as we wait for the remaining balance of about 9,400 cards which we expect this week or next week,” said Mr. Ngosa.
Mr. Ngosa however, said the Department was facing some challenges in that, some farmers were not coming forth to collect their cards.
He encouraged small-scale farmers in the District to come in large number to collect their cards and help them prepare for the 2015/2016 farming season.
“We have had few challenges such as poor rate at which farmers are coming to collect their cards in some areas and this has led us to suspect that some of the people might have re-located to other District or might have dead,” said Mr. Ngosa.
He added that the department envisage to finish with distribution of E-voucher cards to farmers in the District by mid-December, 2015 once the District receives last batch of cards any time soon.
Meanwhile, Mr. Ngosa says 3,200 small-scale farmers’ names have since been submitted to Lusaka for activation in order to enable them access farming inputs from agro dealers within Monze District.
He urged some farmers in the District who have not yet collected their cards to do so as soon as possible in order for their accounts to be activated and be able to access inputs before serious rains start in the District.
The E-Voucher programme being implemented as a pilot projects in 13 Districts across the country aims at increasing the role of private sector in the agriculture sector and help in improving easy access to inputs to small-scale farmers.