Over 20 farmer Cooperative representatives from selected farming blocks in Samfya district have urged government to find a lasting solution to delayed input distribution.
Speaking when they stormed ZANIS offices in Samfya today, the irate farmers said most of their crop under the 2012/2013 farming season have failed to grow well due to delayed inputs under the Farmers Input Support Program (FISP) and alleged inconsistent distribution mechanism used.
Patrick Kaoma a Camp Agriculture Committee Chairperson for the 18 Cooperative farming groups and clubs of Bangweulu Central Farming Block , flanked by George Mwape a trustee of 16 cooperative groups and clubs in Mano Block said a lot of farmers in their entities had experienced a delay of Urea and some D Compound fertilizer which was coming in trickles.
Another farmer representative, Boniface Chilufya, Vice Chairperson of Mwenshilungu farm Block said the situation was worsened by long distances farmers were forced to cover in order to access to the inputs.
Mr Chilufya said the fertilizer inflows’ pace was disheartening and proving to be an extremely costly venture on the part of a peasant farmer as they indefinitely had to wait or gamble to come to the boma in a bid not to be left out of the share of packs they had already paid for.
And when the group visited the office of the District Commissioner, demanding to know what authorities were doing over the matter, District Administrative Officer James Mulenga assured the farmers that government was mapping a way forward to bring to an end the issue of delayed input distribution to farmers.
The fuming farmers bemoaned what they termed as favouritism of some farming cooperatives or grouping they alleged to have been given preference at the expense of other groups.
The angry farmers alleged that some cooperatives have accessed all the input requirements in what they termed as a questionable distribution formula at the district level.
Speaking in the company of an Agriculture officer, Mr Mulenga reiterated governments commitment towards coming up with an enhanced and timely FISP distribution mechanism.
Mr Mulenga said his office was fully updated that so far 6,419 bags out of about 12,000 bags of fertilizer targeting the over 6000 farmers in the district has been disbursed and efforts were underway to reach the deficit in due course.
He said the figure represented a 98 percent distribution mark for top dressing (Urea) and basal dressing (D compound) fertilizer combined while Urea alone was at 49 percent in terms of what had been received and distributed currently.