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Alba Iulia
Sunday, February 5, 2023

Kitwe Farmers run out of Maize Seeds

EconomyKitwe Farmers run out of Maize Seeds

Farmers in Kitwe City on the Copperbelt province have appealed to government to urgently address the shortage of maize seed that has hit the area.

This situation has caused panic among farmers who are not on the government funded Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP).

Some farmers who are not on FISP say they are worried that they may not be able essential commodity in time to plant for this season.

They revealed that as rely on maize for consumption, government should intervene in the matter for the country to have enough maize for consumption.

And some farmers on FISP have also complained that they will have nowhere to get the seed if the situation continues.

Mr. Conrad Himoonga, a farmer on FISP, noted that even those on FISP it is not everyone who is going to receive inputs as such they will have to find a way of buying seed and fertilizer on their own hence the need for the commodity to be availed on the market.

“I am on FISP but the inputs we get under FISP are just meant to and to make matters worse government has directed that once we get the packs no one is allowed to share with those that will not receive,” He said.

Mr. Himoonga however commended government for sustaining the FISP saying it has helped some small- scale farmers to become self-reliant.

He some farmers under FISP are willing to be weaned from the programme to enable new farmers benefit.

But when contacted Zambia Agro-Dealers Association ( ZADA )spokesperson Bright Chikambwe said the status quo is due to the removal of Agro-dealers from the FISP by government.

Mr. Chikambwe also explained that the Agro-dealers also have no capital to source seed from alternative sources to stock their shops
because they are still owed by government.

“The seed is there but Agro-dealers have no access to the seed because they have been removed from FISP and the other thing is that some Agro-dealers have not been paid as a result they do not have cash to run their businesses so we are appealing to government to look into the matter,” he said.

He said the Agro-dealers are hoping that government will put them back on FISP next year so that they are back in business.

Meanwhile, Kalumbila District Community Development Officer, Ritah Makupa says government is committed to ensuring success in the implementation of all the three components of the Food Security Pack (FSP) programme this year.

Ms Makupa said the move is aimed at enhancing the contribution of the programme in the provision of livelihood skills, self-sustainability and poverty reduction among the poor and vulnerable households.

Ms Makupa was speaking to to the media in an interview yesterday after successfully holding a Food processing and preservation training in Chovwe and Shinda as well as FSP identification and selection meetings in all 12 wards.

She disclosed that the number of beneficiaries for this 2022/2023 farming season has been reduced from 133 beneficiaries per ward to 88 per ward.

“The number of beneficiaries has reduced because our Ministry has reduced the number of packs from 1600 to 1062…We have developed a criteria whereby those who benefit under the Farmer Input Support Program (FISP), Social Cash Transfer and those failing to remit recoveries will be removed from the program so as to arrive at 88 beneficiaries per ward,” she added.

She explained that the reduction in FSP packs for this season could be as a result of insufficient funds.

During the meetings in various wards, Ms Makupa also seized the opportunity to warn beneficiaries against selling the inputs given to them.

Meanwhile, Boyd Kasambayi, a beneficiary from Chitungu ward, observed that some beneficiaries are appearing under various government programmes due to information gaps.

“When we call for community meetings, people do not attend but when they find people queuing to register for a programme they just join without understanding how it will impact them,” he said.

Mr Kasambayi explained that the FSP has helped him alot and has been able to buy a motorcycle as well as cater for his children’s school requirements.

Another beneficiary Edith Ilela from Kisasa said she is now able to harvest a minimum of 10 bags of maize from her two Lima fields due to the inputs received under the FSP.

“I just want to encourage others to understand the aim of different government programmes, so that they join one and give the chance to others to also join other programmes rather than being in all programmes,” she added.

And Bervin Katoka of Chitungu said the criteria to remove those under other government programmes such as FISP and Social Cash Transfer from the FSP programme is a welcome move.

7 COMMENTS

  1. And today ….. that man Bowa at ERB is going to increase the cost of diesel. There by increasing distribution costs for fertilizer and the price goes up from K1200/per bag.

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