JOHN KOMBE writes
CHONGWE district commissioner, Lobster Mwanza has warned against registering ghost farmers in the Farmer Input Support Program (FISP) for 2020/2021 farming season.
Mr. Mwanza sounded the warning during a district agriculture stakeholders’ meeting for the 2020/2021 input support program. The meeting was attended by agriculture cooperative committee members, the District Agriculture Coordinating Officer (DACO), and the Senior Agriculture Officer (SAO).
He revealed that his office had instituted a team to closely monitor the input supply to ensure that fraud was curbed. He disclosed that 17, 792 framers in Chongwe were earmarked to benefit from the program in the 2020/2021 farming season. He therefore advised the cooperatives to ensure that they only register viable and eligible farmers.
The DC further disclosed that the district had so far received a total of 3, 100 metric tonnes of D. Compound fertilizer and 90 metric tonnes of Urea fertilizer. He stressed that the unprecedented early delivery of inputs must yield the intended results. He further stated that the government had contracted Nitrogen chemicals of Zambia (NCZ), Alpha commodity suppliers and Rock Life enterprises to supply the inputs to Chongwe.
Mr. Mwanza has since advised the cooperatives to ensure that they encourage farmers to deposit their K400 contributions promptly. He said that the exercise was officially launched on July 15th and as such the cooperatives must act promptly. He urged the farmers to continue working hard and maintain the district status of being the grain basket for Lusaka province.
He also revealed that the farmers who were swindled by a named agro dealer in the last farming season were being given back their inputs. He said that this vice will not be tolerated in this season.
And Chongwe District Agriculture Coordinating Officer (DACO), Mr. John Lungu disclosed that the government had reverted the district to the direct input supply program. He observed that the conventional method of input distribution would help to mitigate the challenges of input distribution and as such must be commended.
He also warned cooperative chairpersons against engaging in illegal activities. He said that his office will not take kindly to any abuse of the program.
Meanwhile, Senior Agriculture Officer (SAO), Mr. Chintu Malambo urged the cooperatives to only register farmers who were able to pay the K400 contributions. He observed that more than 1, 000 packs were not redeemed last year despite the government making its contribution. He said that this was because an equivalent number of farmers did not manage to deposit their contributions.