Chiefs sabotage FISP

Fri, 30 Dec 2016 10:26:28 +0000

IT is an act of sabotage for some traditional leaders in Southern Province to discourage their subjects from receiving farming inputs on the miscued belief that the inputs were late.

Such idiosyncrasy is unacceptable and need to be condemned by all well- meaning Zambians.

The Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) is a Ministry of Agriculture initiative meant to facilitate smooth delivery of requisite farming inputs to the farmers.

And to learn that some chiefs and headmen are inciting their subjects not to receive fertilisers and seed is very disturbing considering the fact that Government has earmarked agriculture to be a priority sector in the economic diversification drive.

Admittedly, delivery of inputs to farmers in the 2016/2017 farming season has been beset with a number of logistical challenges, hence the delays in the distribution process.

Last week, Ministry of Agriculture permanent secretary Julius Shawa indicated two challenges that have affected the timely delivery of inputs to farmers: slow rate at which transporters were moving the inputs and the lack of warehouses in some parts of the country.

The cited logistical challenges might not be the only causes of the delays being encountered in the management of FISP this year.

Instead, some inefficient and politically inclined technocrats charged with the responsibility of distributing seed and fertiliser under FISP could have played a role.

It is no secret that some civil servants actively engage in politics, hence deliberately derail government programmes to create an impression that Government has failed the people.

It is rather disheartening that even our traditional leaders are now actively involved in politics just like some civil servants even when they are know they should be non-partisan. This is quite worrisome.

As Paramount Chief Chitimukulu rightly observed a fortnight ago, the delays in the timely delivery of inputs amounts to economic sabotage.

And the path some traditional leaders have taken in dissuading their subjects from receiving the fertiliser and seed on the pretext that it is too late to plant is otiose.

In our view, the actions by saboteurs, regardless of the role played, are not only irresponsible but also unpatriotic.

What is so disappointing is that despite the President Lungu having given a one week ultimatum, there are still individuals resisting the presidential directive.

As a result, we think this is not politically, economically and morally right. It is an immorality against society because when the farmers do not engage in farming activities in some parts of the country, the repercussions of a food crisis will be borne by the ordinary citizens.

We urge Government to thoroughly investigate the motive behind actions by some traditional leaders’ action and expose them. Such individuals must be regarded as enemies of both the people and national development.


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