The Chipata District Farmers Association (CDFA) has welcomed the appointment of Mtolo Phiri as Minister of Agriculture.
he CDFA Coordinator Virgil Malambo said the association was hopeful that Mr. Phiri will deliver according to the people’s expectations.
Mr. Malambo said CDFA is ready to work with the new minister whom he said is knowledgeable in the area of agriculture.
He said this collaboration will help ensure that the agricultural sector prospers in the province and across the country.
He noted that farmers are highly expectant especially on the issue of reducing the price of farming inputs which was one of the campaign promises by President Hakainde Hichilema.
Mr. Malambo has since urged the new minister to ensure that the price of fertiliser is reduced and while the commodity made available to the farmers throughout the year.
“As farmers, we are highly expectant from the minister especially on the issue of reducing the cost of farming inputs which is currently high. This was one of the campaign promises that the President made to the people so the minister should ensure that it is actualised,” he said.
He has also appealed to the new Minister of Agriculture to revisit the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) so that only eligible people benefit.
According to Mr. Malambo, the number of beneficiaries under FISP and Food Security Pack should be increased.
He is of the view that each farmer must at least receive a minimum of eight bags if they were to effectively contribute to the growth of the agricultural sector.
The CDFA Coordinator also expects the Mr. Phiri to ensure that industries that can add value to the agricultural produce are set up in the province.
And in a separate interview, Agriculture Minister Mtolo Phiri has assured that all programmes in the ministry are aligned to the United Party for National Development (UPND) manifesto.
Mr. Phiri explained that the UPND government remains committed in ensuring that the cost of farming inputs is reduced as per promise.
He said stakeholders will soon be engaged to see how best this can be realised.
The minister further said he will soon inform the nation when the distribution of inputs under FISP will be done as most of the farming inputs are already in the districts.