Over 800,000 out of the 1 million targeted farmers across the country have deposited their K400 to access the farming Inputs for the 2019/2020 Farmer Input Supply Programme (FISP) for both the direct input supply and the Electronic Voucher system (E-voucher).
Ministry of Agriculture Michael Katambo has disclosed that government has also extended the deadline for depositing the FISP contributions up to October month end, to give chance to the remaining over 100,000 farmers, to make the contributions and access the inputs.
Mr. Katambo explained that government is committed to address all the challenges that farmers incurred in the last farming season, caused by late distribution of inputs and the implementation of E-voucher system in some places.
Mr Katambo was speaking in Chilanga today when he officially launched the issuance of FISP for the 2019/2020 farming season.
He assured farmers that during the current farming season, the authority will effectively address all the challenges and advised farmers who made contributions but did not receive the inputs, to get in touch with the office of the district agriculture coordinator in respective districts.
And the Minister noted that the operations of most agro dealers have been affected by delays in payment of arears owed to them, adding that this is why government will continue to settle the outstanding balances.
Mr Katambo said his ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance have put in place mechanisms to ensure that all agro dealers are paid on time, during the 2019/ 2020 FISP implementation exercise.
He further warned the participating agro dealers to refrain from invoicing government for inputs that have not been issued to farmers, adding that farmers also should not surrender their codes to dealers without getting inputs.
And Deputy Secretary to Cabinet and Coordinator for Smart Zambia Martin Mtonga said over 7,600 Civil Servants countrywide have illegally registered to benefit from FISP.
Dr Mtonga stated that through the Zambia Integrated Agriculture Management System aimed at managing FISP, it is easy for government to detect any corrupt activities in the system.
Meanwhile a representative of farmers Agnes Ndhlovu thanked government for the timely distribution of the farming inputs for this season.
Ms Ndhlovu said the early distribution will help farmers prepare adequately in the wake of climate change.