Govt in K2bn FISP debt

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 11:28:15 +0000



GOVERNMENT, through the Ministry of Agriculture, still owes fertilizer suppliers, seed companies and transporters K2 billion, says Agriculture Minister Dora Siliya.

Ms Siliya broke down the amount in Parliament yesterday as K1.67 billion owed to fertilizer suppliers, K332.9 million to seed suppliers and K8.4 million to the transporters.

Updating Parliament on the implementation of the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) for 2016/2017 agricultural season, Ms Siliya explained that the delays in the distribution of inputs under the conventional FISP had been due to the late release of funds for the programme.

She said the delay subsequently resulted in delayed payments to seed and fertilizer suppliers as well as transporters for inputs and services provided during the 2016/2017 agricultural season.

Ms Siliya said the supply and deliver of inputs under conventional FISP could not commence until the arrears had been settled.

“In addition, the major suppliers of fertilizer ran out of the commodity for both conventional and E-voucher districts.

“The fertilizer demand for the 2016/2017 agriculture season had been underestimated by the major suppliers. The total fertilizer demand for the country, that is both basal and top dressing is estimated at 400, 000 metric tonnes per annum,” she said.

Ms Siliya said the suppliers also had transportation challenges and inadequate storage facilities for fertilizer in some districts.

She explained that under the E-voucher system, a total of K803.7 million had been disbursed for implementation of the E-voucher system out of the K1.026 billion required.

“Thus, of the 602, 521 cards in the system, 513, 786 have been sent for activation. As at February 20, 2017, a total of 434, 762 cards have been activated with the amount disbursed so far.

“This leaves a balance of K260.1 million for activation on the cards already distributed to the farmers,” Ms Siliya said.

She said a further K5.9 million was owed to the five participating banks for the production of the E-voucher cards.

Ms Siliya said there was also late production and distribution of cards, adding that in some districts agro-dealers arbitrarily increased prices of fertilizer.

She said some agro-dealers ran out of inputs while some farmers were forgetting their passwords and had their cards blocked.

“Government is working tirelessly to find solutions to the challenges that have affected the implementation of the FISP particularly the E-voucher system. To this effect, we are planning a stakeholder meeting to be held soon.

“This meeting is meant to comprehensively review the performance of FISP, share experiences and improve performance of the programme in the coming season,” Ms Siliya said.


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