— The Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) has expressed worry that inputs for 2013/2014 farming season under the 2013/2014 Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) has not yet reached some farmers in the country.
The Union has received reports from stressed farmers on the Copperbelt, Central, Eastern and Southern provinces that they have not yet gotten D-Compound and Urea fertilizer.
ZANIS reports that ZNFU President Evelyn Nguleka confirmed the development in a statement in Lusaka today.
Dr. Nguleka said investigations conducted by the Union revealed that the D-Compund procured for some areas was less than the expected amounts resulting in shortages while the Urea Fertilizer procurement has taken numerous twists and turns.
“Our investigations have revealed that the basal dressing fertilizer procured for some areas was less than the expected amounts resulting in shortages while the top dressing fertilizer procurement has taken numerous twists and turns.
“ As a Union, we are deeply concerned by these developments because the Agriculture Minister Mr. Sichinga tendered a public apology to the farmers that delays in the distribution of agricultural inputs under FISP will never happen again under his charge,” Dr. Nguleka lamented.
She called upon government to rise to the occasion and address all the factors with the urgency they deserved to avert a food calamity emerging in the nation.
The ZNFU President pointed out that the haphazard distribution of farming inputs that the country is experiencing currently could turn out to be a national financial burden if not properly handled as the 2014 maize harvest could translate in low crop yield.
Dr. Nguleka said ZNFU was worried that the events of the 2012/2013 farming season are re-occurring despite government’s assurance that inputs would be delivered in a timely manner.
The ZNFU President advised government to pay the transporters on time to avoid panic among the farmers.
“We expect Government to reciprocate by providing the inputs in a timely manner without fail,” she said.
Dr. Nguleka however, commended government for authorizing the Food Reserve Agency to offload some maize stocks to stabilize meali-meal skyrocketing prices.
She observed that a number of countries in the Southern African region are emerging from maize production deficits and look up to Zambia for food.
She urged the farming community to remain committed and prepared to grow more food for everyone to eat as government is working tirelessly and round the clock to addressing the problem surrounding input distribution.