Agriculture department urged to prioritize FISP distribution
Livingstone, June 28, 2014 ZANIS——-Government has directed the Department of Agriculture to prioritize the distribution of inputs under the Farmer Input Support Program (FISP) to farmers who participate in District Agricultural Shows.
Livingstone District Commissioner Omar Musanje says it is of concern that some FISP beneficiaries shun participation in activities such as District Agriculture Shows he said would make farmers more visible.
Mr. Musanje said it was unfortunate some cooperatives in Livingstone for example harboured self- centred farmers who he said sell inputs they received under FISP.
“I have seen that there are very few cooperatives that have come in to showcase their products at this year’s agricultural show.
“ To me this is an indication that most cooperatives we have in Livingstone have farmers who have turned into businessmen that sell the fertilizer they get under FISP,” he said.
He said this in Livingstone yesterday during the official opening of the District Agricultural Show held at Mapenzi grounds under the theme: “2014, Breaking New Grounds”.
Mr. Musanje said cooperatives which took time to participate in the Show were important as they showed what Livingstone farmers could produce to ensure food security in the district.
Earlier, District Agricultural Coordinator, Richard Nambwalu says his office had been encouraging farmers to add value to their produce, as opposed to selling raw grain.
Mr. Nambwalu said farmers were also educated on the benefits of engaging in conservation agriculture and farming as a business.
He however, called on government to assist the district show society find a central place where they could hold their show annually, as currently, farmers from Livingstone West were not able to participate due to the location of Mapenzi grounds.
And District Show Society Chairperson, Matthews Mbawo appealed to government to assist farmers by facilitating access to loans as this would enhance their productivity.