Kafue expects poor yields due to untimely delivery of inputs

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Farmers in Kafue have complained that the late delivery of farming inputs under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) will result into the district having poor crop yields.

Daniel Musantwa from Kabweza Agricultural Co-operative said this year‘s distribution of farming inputs is one of the worst in the history of the programme, saying crops have been greatly affected by the delivery of fertilizer.

Mr Musantwa added that apart from the late delivery of farming inputs, the district has also been affected with natural calamities such as heavy rains and army worms which invaded crops.

Mr Musantwa said this when the District Administrative Officer (DAO) Jairos Simukoko toured cooperatives to check if all farmers had received farming inputs for the 2012/2013 farming season.

And Regina Moonga from Yambayamba Cooperative expressed displeasure by Omnia and Nyiombo‘s delay in the distribution of inputs, adding that the fertilizer was not enough as some farmers had to be refunded since the packs were not adequate to cater for all of them.

Mrs Moonga complained that in some cases the suppliers distributed top dressing first instead of basal fertilizer which is usually applied when planting hence most farmers will not apply the basal which is being distributed now as it was too late to apply it to the maize which has started tussling.

She has since urged the Ministry of Agriculture to be more careful when awarding contracts to transporters as some of the delays of late delivery of inputs were as a result of not having good transport to ferry the inputs to co-operatives.

And Omnia Kafue Warehouse Manager, Moris Nkhowani, said some of the delays in distributing fertilizer to co-operatives were due to the bad road leading to the warehouse where trucks usually got stuck.

Mr Nkhowani said Omnia has since hired casual workers to ferry the fertilizer from the warehouse and loading it into the trucks, a situation that has slowed down the transportation.

A check by ZANIS at the Omnia Shade found trucks marooned waiting to be loaded with fertilizer as they were getting stuck in the mud near the warehouse.