Luwingu farmers besiege DC office
Luwingu, February 8, ZANIS —— Scores of peasant farmers in Luwingu district in the Northern Province stormed the office of the District Commissioner demanding an explanation as to why fertilizer has not been made available to them.
The peasant farmers in Luwingu district are worried with the late distribution of fertilizer in the area saying the delay will in turn adversely affect the maize production this year.
Speaking when they stormed the office of the district commissioner Mambwe Katontoka, Ilufya Cooperative Society Chairperson John Chanda said most of their crop which was planted between November and January has been destroyed due to none availability of fertilizer especially top dressing.
Mr Chanda said none availability of top dressing fertilizer is worrying most of the farmers in Lubansenshi and Lupososhi constituency adding that they are not read to wait for the germinating maize to be destroyed due to late delivery of Urea (the top dressing fertilizer).
“Farmers in the district are bitter with the way government has handled the fertilizer distribution this year,” he warned.
The farmers who travelled as far as Senior chief Shimumbi which is about 153 km, Senior Chieftainess Chungu 57 km, Chief Tungati 36 km and Chief Chabula 72 km to collect the inputs were disappointed to note that the district had not received the commodity from Kasama.
And Mufili camps Chairperson Lightson Kabwe said farmers in the outskirts are wondering why the government has delayed in distributing the fertilizer under the Farmer Inputs Support Program (FISP).
He said most of the farmers in Luwingu have not received top dressing fertilizer while others got basal dressing.
Mr Kabwe said the Patriotic Front government should be reminded that people changed government in order to improve delivery of farm inputs and government operation especially in local councils.
He said so far people in rural areas have not appreciated change because they are being made to walk long distances to fetch for agriculture commodity which should have been brought on their door steps.
Mr Kabwe said he wouldn’t want to compare with the old governments but merely asking for maximum improvement especially in the agricultural sector.
He said if there are some civil servants who are delaying the distribution of fertilizers they should be removed quickly before they completely tarnish the good image of the PF government.
About 157 cooperative society representatives stormed the office of the District Commissioner Mrs Katontoka who has since assured peasant farmers to remain calm as government through the ministry of agriculture was doing everything possible.
Mrs Katontoka said she was aware of the difficulties the farmers were facing especially on late delivery of farm inputs.
She said though the District Agriculture Coordinator has not yet reported anything concerning the delay to distribute fertilizer in the district, she promised to make a follow up with the office of the Provincial Permanent Secretary on the matter.