Government has challenged small scale farmers to adopt new agricultural technologies to counter the increasing cost of production in the agriculture sector.
And government has urged small scale farmers in Kapiri Mposhi district not to fall prey to briefcase businessmen who are buying maize at cheap and un-recommended price.
Kapiri Mposhi District Commissioner, Beatrice Sikazwe urged small scale farmers to take-up new technologies such as growing diversity of crops and practice conservation and organic farming to minimize the cost on the procurement of fertilizers.
ZANIS reports that the District Commissioner said this when she officiated at the Chipepo Block Agricultural and Commercial Show held under the theme “business in a changing environment” over the weekend.
The DC noted that farmers can only profitably run farming as a business when they reduce on the expenditure on the production of crops.
Ms. Sikazwe noted that most small scale farmers have failed to graduate to commercial status because of their continued growing of the same crop mostly maize and practicing of one form of agriculture which is entirely dependent on fertilizers.
“Just as any other business farming is a risky business… the volatile markets and unpredictable weather conditions can make planning and execution of farming activities a difficult prospect so let us consider adopting new technologies to counter these challenges,” Ms. Sikazwe said.
Meanwhile, Ms. Siakzwe has advised small scale farmers in the district not to fall prey to briefcase businessmen who are buying maize at cheap and un-recommended prices.
Some businessmen are reportedly offering to buy a 50 kilogram bag of maize at Kr24 and not at Kr65 recommended price from small scale farmers in Kapiri Mposhi.
Ms. Sikazwe assured farmers that government will allocate enough funds to provide market and buy their maize at the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) recommended price of Kr65 per 50 kg bag.
However, Ms. Sikazwe cautioned the farmers from selling all their maize but reserve some for their domestic consumption to prevent hunger at household level.
And Ms. Sikazwe has assured small scale farmers in the district that government will continue increasing investment in the agriculture sector to stimulate increased productivity to create wealth and improve food security at household and national levels.
She said government will go-on to creating favorable agricultural policies that are aimed at benefiting small scale farmers in the country.
She said the Ministry of Agriculture will starting this year use the Electronic Voucher System in the distribution of farming inputs to small scale farmers.
The DC said the implementation of the Electronic Voucher System is aimed at ensuring efficiency in the delivery of farming inputs to farmers in the country.
“ The PF government is a number one enemy to corruption and misappropriation of resources so the electronic voucher system will ensure that inputs area delivered to the intended farmers on time”, Ms. Sikazwe said.
She called on the farmers in the district to accept the Electronic System.
And famers in Chipepo Farming Block have implored government to review and revise the floor price of maize.
Chipepo Farming Block Show Society Chairperson, Michael Chibandika noted that the floor price for maize has remained stagnant for over three seasons despite the removal of subsidies on maize and fuel.
He said other cost on agriculture inputs such as seed and fertilizer have continued to go up adding that the maintained Kr65 floor price of maize was not profitable for the farmers because they were incurring more costs in production of maize.
Mr. Chibandika also appealed to government to create more satellite depots for farmers to supply their maize adding that farmers have been compelled to sale their maize to unscrupulous traders offering cheap prices because of the distances involved to satellite depots.