The government has cautioned Agricultural Camp officers against poor management and handling of the ongoing 2022/2023 Farmers Input Support Program (FISP) implementation.
Mwinilunga District commissioner Harrison Kamuna says the Camp officers should ensure that they embrace both old and new cooperatives as long as they abide by the set guidelines under the program.
Mr. Kamuna adds that the officers should strike a balance in distribution of the inputs in order to have minimum disruption of the program to guarantee high crop yields thereby ensuring national food security.
ZANIs reports that the District Commissioner said this when he addressed selected agriculture camp officers in the district following complaints of being left out from the program by some cooperatives.
“It is important that you strike a balance so that you don’t disrupt the program, farming is very important,” he said.
Government is resolved to ensure that the FISP begins to operate according to its initial objective of developing small scale farmers into emerging and commercial farmers who can be weaned off every after three years.
Mr. Kamuna commended the officers for handling the program well and advised them against entertaining verbal instructions as they may be difficult to defend once implemented when queries arose in the future.
Meanwhile District agriculture coordinator (DACO) Lewis Chiwele informed the District Commissioner that the district has begun receiving farming inputs with a number of cooperatives ready to begin depositing their money this week.
Mr. Chiwele has however expressed concern that that farmers in the district may face challenges in terms of accessing their redeeming codes due to poor mobile network in most areas.
“ The district has witnessed an upswing of new cooperatives applying to access inputs under FISP rising from 331 last year to 600 cooperatives this year posing a challenge in terms of sharing of the inputs, “ he said.
Mr Chiwele has since asked the ministry to consider revising and streamlining FISP guidelines so that it is easy to identify intended beneficiaries in view of increase of cooperatives applying for inputs.
The district currently has a database of 35,000 farmers out which only 8,500 are benefiting with 6,500, farmers representing 80 percent of the old beneficiaries earmarked to be weaned off the program starting next year in line with the government’s directive.