East Minister calls for dissolution of CACs

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Government  has called for the immediate dissolution of Camp Agricultural Committees (CACs) in the Eastern Province.

The decision is meant to discourage malpractices in the implementation of the Fertiliser Input Support Programme (FISP).

Eastern Province Minister Malozo Sichone said the CACs should immediately be dissolved to pave way for the reconstitution of new ones so that there were no complaints from farmers about the fertiliser distribution.

Mr. Sichone was reacting to concerns by farmers of Ng’ongwe ward in Kasenengwa constituency when he addressed a developmental meeting in the area recently.

The farmers complained that from the time the Patriotic Front government came into office, cooperatives received less packs of inputs.

The Minister, who took to task Acting Provincial Agricultural Coordinator, Kennedy Kanenga, wondered why farmers could be getting less packs of fertiliser when government had increased the allocation since 2011.

‘’ Can you tell me why farmers are receiving less packs of fertiliser when government has increased the fertilizer under the FISP allocation throughout the country?’’ the Minister asked Mr. Kanenga.  

Earlier, a member of a Camp Agricultural Committee, Safulawo Phiri, said some cooperatives had bloated membership and the inputs they received were not enough to cater for all the farmers hence they received less than they expected.

Mr. Sichone said the K 50.00 membership fees farmers paid to cooperatives were a contributing factor to the problem because leaders of cooperatives were interested in the money which they were allegedly pocketing and not the welfare of farmers.

‘’ How can you have a cooperative with over 80 members? You are only interested in the K 50.00 each farmer is paying without considering how much fertilizer each farmer will get if you are too many,’’ he wondered.

Mr. Sichone said a cooperative should only have a maximum of 35 members who could be entitled to a full pack each, which are two by 50 kilogram bags of basal dressing, two by 50 kilogram bags of top dressing fertilizer and a ten kilogram bag of maize seed.

He said the previous administration was giving less fertilizer compared to what the current government is giving and there was no way farmers could complain that they were receiving half a pack each this time around.