Thursday, May 30, 2024

Agro dealers urged not to take advantage of illiterate farmers

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Peasant farmers load their maize into a truck before transportation to an FRA depot in chief Mulala’s area. Agriculture faces many challenges in the area and this fuels poverty in the area.

The ministry of agriculture in Mufumbwe district has implored agro-dealers to remain professional as they take part in the electronic voucher (E-Voucher) farmers input support programme for the 2018-2019 farming season.

This follows government inclusion of Mufumbwe on the list of the districts in North western province which have been maintained on the E-Voucher programme.

Mufumbwe District Agriculture co-ordinator, John Phiri told ZANIS in an interview today that agro-dealers should not take advantage of the illiterate farmers in the district by way of hiking the prices of inputs as farmers come to redeem.

Mr Phiri advised agro-dealers to instead put competitive prices on their inputs to enable both farmers and agro-dealers benefit.

He urged agro-dealers to store a wide variety of inputs in line with government’s call on the need to promote crop diversification.

Mr Phiri also advised farmers in the district to set aside a K400 in readiness of the commencement of the E-Voucher programme as they prepare for this year’s farming season.

He encouraged farmers to think of crop diversification as they prepare for this year’s farming season.

Meanwhile, Mufumbwe District Farmers Association vice Chairperson, Abel Kakewu has appealed to government to increase the number of farmers on this years’ E-Voucher beneficially list.

Mr Kakewu explained that government had targeted 5,500 farmers to be captured on the list but only 2,427 farmers were captured hence the need for government to increase the number of farmers.

He urged government to ensure that farmers’ accounts are activated on time for this year’s farming season so as to prevent farmers from redeeming their inputs late.

Mr Kakewu however commended government for maintaining Mufumbwe on the E-Voucher programme.

He said the E-Voucher is one of the best approaches in promoting crop diversification as farmers have a privilege to choose the kind of crops and inputs to access depending on their needs and preference.

In addition to agro-chemicals and different crop seeds, an agro-dealer, Catalambano integrated farming systems manager, Joseph Mumba told ZANIS that his institution has stored irrigation systems such as water pumps with a view to encouraging gardening in the district.

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