—Agriculture Permanent Secretary, David Shamulenge, says the 900,000 farmers targeted country wide under the Farmer Input Support Programme(FISP) will not be affected by the removal of maize subsidies by government.
Dr Shamulenge said government has only removed subsidies for consumption from 65 to 60 and that all the targeted beneficiaries for FISP subsidies will continue to receive the packs from government.
The Permanent Secretary was speaking in Namwala district when he addressed heads of government departments at the District Commissioner’s office.
Dr Shamulenge is currently touring districts in the Southern province and other parts of the country to inspect and explain programs by government in the agricultural sector.
He said the removal of maize subsidies will save money for other programs and other types of farming other than maize farming.
He said a lot of money was wasted under the maize subsidies and money from subsidies will be channelled to other programs such fish farming, livestock farming and other sectors of the economy.
The Permanent Secretary has also disclosed that his ministry is planning to re-do the live stock census for cattle because the current census is not accurate and that it does not reflect on what is on the ground.
Dr Shamulenge further said the payroll system of Southern province for staff in the Ministry of Agriculture needs to be cleaned up because most of the staff in the province were employed under authorities of other provinces, like in an instance where a staff would based in Namwala but the payslip on PEMEC system shows Lundazi district.
The Permanent Secretary also disclosed that his ministry is currently rehabilitating houses for camp staff and other agricultural technical staff in the country.
He said his ministry is also planning to buy motorbikes for technical staff and later loan them to the staff because it will reduce expenses of maintenance for government, adding that it is the only way the staff will take care of the motorbikes because they will feel the cost of maintenance.