Chief chitin appeals for increased FRA depots
Mkushi, May 31, ZANIS —–Chief Chitina of the Swaka people of Mkushi district has appealed to government to consider installing more Food Reserve Agency (FRA) satellite depots in Mubalashi Agriculture Block.
Chief Chitina made the appeal during this year’s Mubalashi Block Show at Chitina School yesterday.
Chief Chitina elaborated that there was need for FRA satellite depots at areas such as Kasokota, Kalombe, Kasomfi as well as Chisanga.
He said that these areas were far apart from each other and that each had a very high small scale farmers’ population.
He defended his appeal explaining that farmers would be subjected to incurring high cost of transporting their produce from these areas to the Chitina FRA depot.
Chief Chitina observed that without more FRA depots, farming as a business would be a costly venture for many small scale farmers in his chiefdom as government had recently announced the removal of subsidies on fuel.
He further appealed to government to consider increasing the number of Farmer Input Support Program (FISP) beneficiaries beyond the 23,000 total for the 2012—2013 season, adding that he was hopeful that many farmers in his chiefdom would benefit.
During the same Block Show, Mkushi District Agriculture Coordination Office (DACO) pointed out that government’s current agriculture policy was driven by the need to ensure the availability of food at affordable prices.
DACO’s representative Thomas Ngoma said that for this reason, government placed much value on the importance of Block Shows as these served as platforms to monitor the policy effects on farmers and the private sector.
Mr. Ngoma reiterated that the PF government was committed to promoting agriculture in order to reduce poverty amongst the people.
He said that the interaction at Block Shows was vital as government was keen to get some input from farmers and agro-companies on matters relating to the quest to improve agriculture.
He said that in view of this, the Block Shows were precursors to the 2013 Central province Agriculture Commercial Show which would be hosted by Mkushi in July.
Mr Ngoma who is also Mkushi Farmer Training Center (FTC) Manager, further noted that government was encouraging farmers to take advantage of the agronomic skills that were administered through Extension workers.
He said that such skills included new farming methods which were ideal to cope with variations of the climate such as the 2012—2013 rain fall pattern, adding that Conservation farming was being encouraged.
He said that government’s agriculture extension services also included the dissemination of skills that pertained to crop diversification, saying that this had been effected in order to widen the options for farmers.
Mr Ngoma said that coupled with these services, government was keen to see improvement in enterprise skills amongst farmers, adding that this was in tandem with the 2013 theme which read as’ doing business in a changing environment’.
ZANIS / ENDS / CM / SM ——– DRY