—The National Peasant Farmers Association (NPFA) branch in Mkushi district has been advised to strengthen its interaction with the District Agriculture Coordination Office (DACO).
Mkushi’s Senior Agriculture Officer (SAO), Patrick Mutale, told ZANIS that there was need for the NPFA to consider strengthening the bondage between DACO and the peasant farmers’ organisation.
Mr Mutale said although the DACO was eager for increased interaction with the NPFA, the linkage between these two organizations had been weak in recent times.
He said closer cooperation between the two organizations would bring about mutual benefits which were likely to have positive impact on small scale farming in the district.
He cited technical assistance on matters pertaining to agronomic as well as organisation skills as being amongst the benefits that the NPFA could derive from good liaison with DACO.
Mr Mutale said the DACO recognized the importance of the NPFA, saying that peasant farmers were among the primary target clients of all DACO activities.
He stressed that the onus was on the NPFA leadership in the district to consider extending their cooperation towards DACO, adding that the DACO was always ready to strengthen the bonds with peasant farmers.
In a related development, Mkushi District NPFA Coordinator, Aidan Ngoma, bemoaned his organisation’s lack of activities.
Mr Ngoma attributed the lack of operational funds as being the major challenge that hindered his organisation from being pro-active in recent times.
He said although the association currently had 200 members in the district, the financial base for NPFA to conduct operations was very poor.
He pointed out that the situation had greatly contributed to preventing the association from increasing its profile and operations in the district.
Mr Ngoma, however, stressed that the NPFA was crucial to the efforts of consolidating the position of peasant farmers in the area, explaining that this organisation was a de-facto union mouth piece for peasant farmers.
He observed that owing to the significance of NPFA in championing the cause for small scale farmers, there was need for well wishers to help resuscitate the operations of this organisation.
He affirmed that financial assistance easily ranked as being the topmost help from well wishers, but was quick to recognize the importance of technical assistance on matters such as organisational skills.
Mr Ngoma also observed that there had been a noticeable improvement in Farmer Input Support Program (FISP) delivery as well as in the pace of transporting maize to Food Reserve Agency (FRA) storage facilities.
He commended Government for improvements in these aspects, adding that the performance in the last farming season was encouraging.
Mr Ngoma mentioned that the NPFA was hopeful that Government would continue with the up scaled performance in matters such as FISP as well as in transportation and marketing of FRA related crops.