The Patriotic Front in Lusaka Province is concerned by the slow pace at which the Ministries of Finance and Agriculture are managing payments to Agro-dealers for the distribution of the farming inputs under the Farmer Input Support Programme.
Party Provincial Secretary Kennedy Kamba says in the PF government, the agriculture sector is guided by the National Agricultural Policy which undergoes periodic reviews to ensure its relevance to prevailing climatic, social and economic conditions of the country.
Mr Kamba said the PF is inspired by the passion and dedication that President Edgar Lungu has exhibited in revamping the agriculture sector because it is key to national economic stability as every country needs sufficient food through effective means of food production.
“We are very cognizant of the fact that agriculture is a very sensitive sector as it is a backbone of every country, and poverty can only be eradicated if the agriculture sector is effectively managed and farmers taken care of”, he said.
Mr Kamba said the party is disappointed that the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Agriculture are not moving at the same pace as President Lungu who is way ahead of time, trying to push for immediate implementation of policies aimed at enhancing agriculture production.
“As a party in Lusaka, we are not happy that many farmers up to now have not been paid, and that the system of distribution of farming inputs seems to have attracted more complaints than positive feedback. We must take care of small-scale farmers by making sure that we give them sufficient and enough farming inputs at a right time”, Mr Kamba added.
He said the PF in Lusaka expect the Minister of Finance Dr Bwalya Ng’andu and the Minister of Agriculture Michael Katambo to attach seriousness to this issue and expedite the process of payments for everyone who needs to be paid in the agriculture sector so that to secure at least a bumper harvest in maize production and other crops.
“We cannot manage of have a situation where everyone involved in food production, starting from Agro-dealers up to the small-scale farmers are complaining. Let those involved in managing agriculture be serious. We all know that President Lungu means business and he wants to work with people who are serious. Those entrusted with honour to serve the public by his Excellency the President, must reciprocate by exhibiting high levels of seriousness in handling such sensitive sectors”, he said.
He said the Party expects before the end of this week serious liaison activities and vibrancy from the two ministries so in order to remove the stumbling blocks that are there in the management of the Agriculture Sector.