2)–Govt flags off FISP distribution

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Government has flagged off the distribution of farm inputs under the Farm Input Support Programme (FISP) to beneficiaries in Itezhi Tezhi district.

ZANIS reports that this is in line with its promise to distribute the inputs in time for the 2014/2015 planting season to all the small scale farmers.

Itezhi Tezhi District Administrative officer Akatama Malikana who represented the District Commissioner flagged off the distribution of 20,062x50kgs of Urea for top dressing, 20,068 x 50kgs of compounds D fertilizer and seeds.

Ms Malikana announced that a total of 10,031 small scale farmers have been targeted to benefit in Itezhi Tezhi from the FISP in the 2014/15 farming season.

She observed that the fertilizer allocation for Itezhi Tezhi district has been increased by 10 percent as compared to last season which was lower.

“This allocation of adequate inputs to farmers in Itezhi Tezhi will ensure every household in the district has enough food for consumption and sell”, said Ms Malikana.

She pointed out that government was promoting crop diversification by the inclusion of groundnuts as one of the crops for this farming season.

Ms Malikana cautioned transporters and government officers involved in delivering the inputs to ensure only eligible poor farmers access the inputs.

“These goods you are handling are meant for poor small scale farmers who are unable to raise enough funds to pay for inputs on the open markets and transport them. Any cases of shortages resulting from theft by warehouse managers, transporters or their agents will not be taken lightly”, she said.

Ms Malikana stressed that theft or diversion or any form of abuses of inputs by any agent will be reported to police for enforcement of the law.

She asked farmers to ensure that inputs are put to good use and that any misuse will attract prosecution.

She also called on all the stakeholders in the district to support government programmes such as FISP as they are intended to uplift the living standards of the people through improving food security, income generation and employment creation.

She further instructed the Ministry of Agriculture to prioritize farmers in remote areas in the selection of beneficiaries for the government subsidized inputs.

And speaking earlier, Senior Agricultural Officer Duncken Nyirongo  appealed to farmers to treat FISP as a kick – start to help them graduate to a level where they should be able to buy their own farm inputs from the open market.

Meanwhile, farmers have lauded the government for the early distribution of inputs in the district.

Moody Mpofu, a farmer from Mbila area thanked government for early supply as promised.

‘We are happy that government has heard our cry for early distribution of inputs to farmers. This time around the government has beaten the onset of the rains.  Last year farmers were receiving fertilizers in February and January”, she noted.