Monze District Commissioner (DC) Cyprian Hamanyanga has urged banks in the area to expedite the process of redeeming the electronic voucher (e-voucher) cards to enable farmers access farming inputs.
And Mr. Hamanyanga has said 931 small scale farmers in Monze district, who sold their maize to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA), have so far been paid out of the total 1,290.
In an interview with ZANIS today, Mr. Hamanyanga said government was deeply concerned with the slow rate at which banks such as the United Bank of Africa (UBA) and Finance were processing farmers’ cards in the district.
He said it was unfortunate that banks are allegedly delaying the process of redeeming farmers’ e-voucher cards.
He has since urged the banks to speed up the process to enable farmers plant their crops before the planting season is over.
“Government does not take pleasure to see farmers suffering like this due to delays by the banks to process their cards and enable them access farming inputs. I therefore, wish to implore UBA and Finance banks to expedite the process to ensure that farmer cards are processed as soon as possible,” Mr. Hamanyanga said.
The DC added that he has since directed officials from the department of agriculture in Monze to make a follow-up with the banks in Lusaka.
He further advised the banking sector in the country to seriously consider changing their way of operating in processing farmers’ cards to avoid affecting farming activities across the country.
Mr. Hamanyanga has reiterated that government was committed to the improving the agriculture sector to guarantee household and national food security through the rolling out of the e-voucher system.
He said government would therefore not tolerate any frustration to the successful achievement of this goal.
Meanwhile, Mr. Hamanyanga has confirmed of stalk borer attacks in some parts of the district.
He further advised farmers in the district to also be on the lookout for any outbreak of army worms and use part of their money in the e-voucher cards to purchase chemicals to protect their crops against the ravaging maize pests.
And the District Commissioner said 359 small scale farmers are yet to be paid by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) agency in the district.
He said so far, the agency still owes these farmers a balance of nearly K3.8 million in Monze district.
Mr. Hamanyanga has since urged farmers to be patient as government would clear all the outstanding balances as soon as possible.
Government, through FRA has so far paid out a total of K30, 175,190 to small holder farmers who supplied white maize to the agency in region, ‘B’.
Region ‘B’ comprises Namwala, Mazabuka, Monze, Gwembe and Pemba districts.
The FRA still owes region ‘B’ a total of K15.8 million.