Agriculture Minister Reuben Mtolo has said that serious scrutiny of beneficiaries of the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) in the 2022/2023 farming season will be conducted.
Speaking when he flagged off the national input distribution for this year’s farming season in Lusaka today, Mr. Mtolo said government wants to ensure only 1,024,434 vulnerable but viable farmers get the inputs.
Mr. Mtolo has challenged United Capital Fertilizer, the company that has been contracted to supply inputs to 4 provinces to make their prices affordable for the farmer.
He says he does not expect the company to sale their fertilizer at as high as the imported commodity but that it should be a price leader for the country and result in high productivity.
United Capital Fertilizer Board Chairperson Chance Kabaghe says Zambia will not need to import fertilizer once construction of phase 3 of the company is completed
Meanwhile, Chinsali District Marketing and Development officer under the Ministry of Agriculture has said that cooperatives should not mix the Constituency Development Funds (CDF) guidelines with Fertilizer Support Programme (FSP).
Chewe Chama said it has come to her attention that cooperatives are mixing the guidelines for CDF with those of FSP saying those who want to benefit from the programme should go through the agricultural camp officers to be registered.
Ms. Chewe said thatthat what has changed is the inclusion of beneficiaries that are above 65 years of age because not all the aged are on FSP in the department of Community Development.
“Government has included those who are 65 years and above as long as they qualify and meet the criteria, “he said.
Ms. Chewe further guided that the Ministry of Agriculture deals with cooperatives that have activities in line with agriculture.
She has since appealed to all peasant farmers to take advantage of the remaining few days to register saying after 3rd October, farmers need to start depositing money for inputs.
Ms. Chewe added that government will use direct input supply system to provide inputs to farmers adding that once suppliers are approved by the Ministry, the farming inputs will be distributed before the onset of rains.
She further warned farmers to stop conniving with camp agriculture committee (CAC) to use dubious means of acquiring the inputs.
A check by ZANIS at the department of National Registration offices found a of crowds of people getting their NRCs so that they can be registered for farming inputs in the 2022 / 2023 farming season.
One of the beneficiaries, Bernard Bwalya of Malata Chembe village, 68, thanked government for considering the aged on FSP saying as long as one can afford to pay membership they have the right to belong to a cooperative.
“We are happy that government has considered everyone as long as one can manage to pay the required money,” he said.
The Ministry of Agriculture is in the process of registering both old and new cooperatives that will benefit from 2022-2023 FSP.