ZANIS COPY – Government urged to engage ZCF in inputs distribution

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Government urged to engage ZCF in inputs distribution

Kabwe, February 7, ZANIS ——-A farmer in Kabwe says it is wrong for government to be directly involved in the distribution of farming inputs to farmers.

Mr Henry Chalubile told ZANIS in Kabwe today that the Farmer Inputs Support Program (FISP) is supposed to be handled by the Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF) on behalf of government.

He said the delays in the distribution of the inputs which were being experienced now could easily be rectified if government withdrew its direct involvement in the system.

Mr Chalubile also urged government to stop the FISP saying the program was not meant to be forever when it was introduced.

Mr Chalubile said it was disappointing and embarrassing to see government distributing fertilizers and seed as late as February when a farmer is supposed to receive the inputs in as early as October.

He urged government to consider handing over the responsibility of distributing agricultural inputs to ZCF so that government could only be monitoring the whole exercise and probably be able to query in case of anything mishandling.

He said because the exercise has been always linked to politics, distribution has been unfair as many genuine farmers were not benefiting at the right time as political carders were given chance to get the inputs which end up on the market.

“There is no way government can surely be in the forefront distributing the inputs as if there are no right institutions which can do the job. Government is supposed to make ZCF accountable by monitoring the distribution,” he said.

He said as a result of the delay to distribute the inputs, many maize fields were likely to go bad because farmers, despite having paid for the inputs on time, have received the commodities late while others are still waiting to get their shares.

Mr Chalubile explained that FISP should have seen some farmers graduating improving and standing on their own but it was the same farmers that benefitted every year which was not the purpose of the program.

Most farmers country wide have complained of delays by government to deliver top dressing fertilizers saying their crop was going bad.