The World Bank has advised government to consider limiting the Farmer Input Support Program -FISP- to three years to allow farmers graduate out of the system.
World Bank Zambia Lead Agriculture Economist Willem Janssen says Zambia spends a lot on the FISP but farmers do not graduate.
Appearing before Expanded Budget Committee on Estimates in Lusaka today, Dr. Janssen said Agriculture is an economic model for Zambia’s growth hence the need to encourage rural development of the sector which employs 60 percent of the population.
He has further noted that Zambia needs to find agro products in which it can have a long comparative advantage like production of animal proteins from soya beans and maize whose production costs have started reducing.
And World Bank Zambia Senior Economist Gregory Smith said Zambia’s economy is much stronger with copper prices having risen by 36 percent .
Dr. Smith has also observed that the 2018 National budget is continuation of Zambia plus with much higher ambitions.
He adds that government has put in place a good budget for 2018 with huge allocations toward health and education but raised concern on the 24 percent toward servicing interest rates for debts.
Meanwhile World Bank Zambia Country Manager Ina Ruthenburg said the bank wants to support Zambia’s drive for economic diversification and move to being a less copper dependent economy.
Ms. Ruthenburg said she would want people to now start focusing on prices of agro commodities and not copper prices when looking at Zambia’s economy.
The Committee is chaired by Mbala Member of Parliament Mwalimu Simfukwe.