Minister of Agriculture, Mtolo Phiri says weaning off some farmers under the Farmer Input Support programme (FISP) who have been benefiting from the programme for many years will allow more people to access inputs.
Mr Phiri stated that allowing the same people to continue accessing inputs under the FISP for a long time will prevent others from benefiting from the program.
He also implored cooperatives to prioritise their new members as they share inputs as most of the old ones have been receiving inputs for a long time.
Mr Phiri was responding to questions from farmers after he flagged off the 2022/2023 distribution of farming inputs under FISP in Chongwe.
He assured farmers in the area that the government has not reduced the number of beneficiaries under the program and that the quantities of inputs to be received by beneficiaries has not equally not been changed.
Mr Phiri also disputed rumours that the government has directed farmers to share inputs adding that only farmers planting on land measuring less than a hectare are being encouraged to share their inputs at a cost to prevent wastage.
He however apologised to farmers in Chongwe for the delay in distributing inputs which were already delivered in the district and further directed the District Agriculture Coordinator to ensure that the available inputs are distributed to the beneficiaries as the district awaits to receive more inputs.
Mr Phiri further implored residents in Chongwe to be vigilant of those illegally selling fertiliser and report such activities to the police.
Meanwhile, Chongwe Member of Parliament, Sylvia Masebo revealed that D compound fertiliser and seed were already delivered to the district but were not distributed by officers who have been tasked to implement the distribution exercise.
Ms Masebo stated that FISP is yet to be reviewed to ensure that it is properly implemented in future.
She cautioned residents against accessing fertiliser through FISP to sell it and also advised those holding certain portfolios to avoid using their positions to access inputs for their personal gain.