Chief Jumbe of the Kunda people of Mambwe district in Eastern province has lauded government for maintaining subsidies on agricultural inputs.
The traditional ruler said the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) is of great help to farmers and therefore maintaining the subsidies on inputs was critical to ensuring that farmers continue contributing significantly to food security in the country.
The chief said this when Transport and Communications Deputy Minister Panji Kaunda called on him at his palace in Mambwe district today.
Colonial Kaunda is in Mambwe district to explain to the people government’s decision to remove fuel and maize subsidies.
Chief Jumbe said peasant farmers contribute significantly to alleviating hunger in the country hence the need for support from government and its cooperating partners.
And the traditional leader has praised President Michael Sata for sending his ministers and their deputies to explain the removal of subsidies on fuel and maize and the benefits that will result from the same.
He said people in his chiefdom were totally unaware of what subsidies were.
The traditional leader also noted that people in his area were desperate to sell their maize in order for them to address some problems.
He said some unscrupulous briefcase businessmen have however taken advantage of the farmers’ vulnerability by getting maize at a much lower price than K65 recommended floor price for a 50 kilogramme bag of maize grain.
Chief Jumbe has since called on the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to quickly open the crop marking season to enable farmers sell their crops at the right price.
Meanwhile, Chief Jumbe has said poaching has reached alarming levels in his chiefdom noting that if the situation is not addressed soon, it may have negative long term effects on the future generation.
He said wildlife was a diminishing resource and should therefore be preserved adding that Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) operations in the area have proved ineffective.
And Col. Kaunda told the traditional leader that government wants farmers to be broad minded and diversify into the cultivation of other crops other than maize.
Col. Kaunda said farmers should endeavor to engage in other forms of farming such as poultry and goat rearing and growing of other crops like millet and sorghum among others.