FRA delayed payments can negate growth

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FRA delayed payments can negate growth

Nchelenge, 24 November , 2014, ZANIS…A Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) official in Luapula province says the delayed payments to farmers by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has the potential to negate growth of the dector.

Nchelenge District Agricultural Coordinator (DACO) Stanford Nkhoma said the delayed payment of small scale farmers was frustrating the distribution of the 2014/2015 farming inputs.

Mr. Nkhoma said the distribution of the 2014/2015 farming inputs was initially going on well but that it had slowed down because farmers have not been paid their money to meet the required deposit.

Mr. Nkhoma said the district had achieved fewer than 50 per cent of the deposits since the commencement of the inputs distribution about a fortnight ago.

Mr. Nkhoma attributed the failure to meet the deposit conditions by most of the farmers in the area to lack of funds because the FRA had not yet paid them.

“We are currently under 50 per cent in terms of deposits because the farmers don’t have the money”, he said.

Mr Nkhoma  said the farmers should have effectively planted their maize seed by 15th December to enhance the chances of a good yield arguing that anything later than that becomes a gamble.

However, the DACO was optimistic that the farmers will be paid their money in good time to access the inputs for the forthcoming farming season.

He disclosed that his ministry was working tirelessly to ensure that the farmers are paid their money to enable them emphatically engage into farming.

“I am confident that the farmers will be paid soon. The government through the ministry of agriculture is working round the clock to pay our farmers to enable them access the inputs”, he said.

And Mr. Nkhoma has advised the agricultural camp officers in the area not to tamper with the lists of farmers that have been submitted to his office under the 2014/2015 input support programme.

Mr. Nkhoma said no farmer should be replaced for none remittance of deposits in good time but instead must be allowed to pay their own pace.

“Allow the farmers to pay when they have the money and any maneuver to replace any farmer will attract a penalty to both the erring officer and the group,” Mr. Nkhoma warned.

The DACO observed that maneuvers to do replacements would also invite unscrupulous people into the system who may get the inputs in large quantities for business to the detriment of the government policy.