Eastern province Minister, Malozo Sichone has directed District Agricultural Coordinators (DACOs) in the region to ensure they distribute urea fertiliser immediately they receive it.
Mr Sichone said the period for urea distribution was long overdue and the DACOs needed to ensure Nyiombo Investment which has been contracted to distribute the fertiliser increased its efficiency.
The provincial minister was speaking when he made a surprise visit to Petauke District Administration today, aimed at finding the reality on the distribution of urea fertiliser in the area.
He said there is no reason why officers responsible for distributing the fertiliser could keep it when farmers were sleeping at the sheds.
The provincial minister noted that the late distribution of the urea fertiliser has affected most maize fields in the province and as such, officers responsible should ensure all farmers are cleared as soon as possible.
”We have lost the crop and this implies that there will be hunger in some parts of the province because of the negligence by some officers who do not want to act quickly when they receive the fertiliser,” he said.
Mr Sichone said Petauke was one of the districts that have not done well in the distribution of fertiliser and directed that officers responsible should treat the distribution with the urgency it deserves.
He said farmers were insulting government because of the delay to distribute the urea fertiliser which he said was deliberately caused by officers.
”We cannot have a situation where officers are failing to work and people are insulting government,” Mr Sichone said.
And Petauke District Acting DACO, Mike Mubalu said 29, 993 by 50 kilogram bags of urea fertiliser were received and Nyiombo distributed 31, 257 by 50 kilogramme bags of urea fertiliser to farmers, adding that, the company had even distributed that which was meant for sale.
Mr Mubalu said out of the 26, 520 by 10 kilogramme bags of maize seed which were received, 100 bags were still not collected by farmers.
He also noted that the district had a shortfall of 1, 400 by 50 kilogramme bags of D-Compound fertiliser which translated into 350 packs.
Mr Sichone who also took time to address farmers that were found at the sheds waiting for Urea fertiliser, assured them that they would soon collect the commodity.
The Provincial Minister said he will ask the Road Development Agency (RDA) and the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) to quickly clear the trucks that were carrying fertiliser from Tanzania and were marooned at Mwami border post so that farmers received the urea fertiliser immediately.
He also directed Nyiombo Investment to increase the amount of fertiliser farmers received per day so that all were cleared as soon as possible.