Agriculture Minister Dora Siliya has blamed delays in the distribution of farming inputs for the 2016/2017 farming season is partly due to the presidential petition.
Ms Siliya stated that the decision by the UPND to petition the outcome of the August elections meant that full government operations were also affected by everyone awaited the outcome of the petition.
She said in an interview that government only started operating in full around October after the presidential petition application was dismissed.
“So from late August right through to October, there was little we could do because there was this petition hanging over the nation,” she said.
Ms. Siliya said the situation was further compounded by the fact that this is the first season that the E-voucher scheme was being piloted.
She said like every new system, there have been some teething problems with the implementation of the E-voucher system.
“The truth is that the farming season has been problematic this season but Government cannot be entirely blamed because there have been a number of factors that have contributed to the problems we have faced,” Ms. Siliya said.
“People are forgetting that during the period of the petition, there was very little that we could do. The whole uncertainty during that period didn’t help with preparations for the farming season,” she said.
Ms. Siliya assured that government will next year conclude the distribution of all farming inputs under Farmer Input Support Programme before the commencement of the farming season.