Small scale farmers castigate organisations opposing subsidy removal

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The Zambia Small Scale Farmers Network (ZSSFN) has expressed disappointment on protests being made by civil society organizations to oppose the removal of maize and fuel subsidies.

In a statement to ZANIS today, ZSSFN National Coordinator, Boyd Liambai, wondered where the civil society organizations are getting the authority to protest on behalf of Zambians, who he said have welcomed the removal of subsidies.

He noted that the Zambian people have accepted the removal of subsidies on maize as the said subsidies only benefited millers who he said were making huge profits.

Mr Liambai said the removal of subsidies is a step in the right direction and has been recommended by many, including world class economists.

He commended government for the changes made in the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) where farmers now have to pay for the inputs with an option of the barter system, saying this will give a sense of ownership to the farmers.

Mr Liambai said government has for a long time now been supporting small scale farmers without any improvement in their livelihood due to lack of a sense of ownership and responsibility.

He said farmers took it for granted that they would have inputs at their doorstep at very minimal contributions while government was losing huge sums of money.

Mr Liambai said the changes will impart a sense of responsibility in farmers and enable them to graduate from small scale to medium scale farmers.

He appealed to government to increase the farming inputs pack in order to enable farmers increase their maize production.

Mr Liambai urged farmers throughout the country not to abuse the inputs that are going to be distributed to them in the forth-coming farming season.