By Martin Akende in Chipata
Government will next year conduct an audit on the Farmers Input Support Programme (FISP) to ensure only deserving farmers are on the scheme, President Edgar Lungu has said.
And President Edgar Lungu has warned civil servants depriving beneficiaries of FISP that the law will visit them.
He said government has noticed that same farmers have perpetually been on FISP thereby depriving other citizens from benefiting from the subsidised inputs.
“Going into next year and beyond, we have to audit the farmers input support programme beneficiaries, some of these beneficiaries have been on the programme for 10 years or from inception. Alternatively it is not supposed to be eternity, people are supposed to get into FISP, grow and graduate but what I have seen is different and that was not the intention of this programme,” said Mr Lungu.
He said government is looking for ways to increase the number of farmers on the FISP programme.
He has since directed the ministry of Agriculture to revisit the FISP to find ways of increasing beneficiaries on the programme.
“Currently 187, 398 beneficiaries are accessing inputs under the scheme, but there has been a cry by farmers that we need to increase beneficiaries and I have said to the ministry of Agriculture that let’s revisit FISP and find if we can expand it to include more formers,” explained President Lungu.
He also warned civil servants in the habit depriving beneficiaries of FISP that the law will visit them because the programme is not for civil servants.
He also encouraged farmers to break away from the mindset of believing that only maize can be grown.
Mr Lungu encouraged farmers in Eastern province to take interest in cashew nut which can transform their lives.
He observed that cashew nut farming can perform very well in Eastern province unlike the belief that it can only be grown in Western province.
On infrastructure development, President Lungu said the government has tried its best to improve infrastructure because this is where development will be anchored.
And the President said government has delivered on its promises and will continue doing so because there is no finishing line for development.
He said government is working to ensure more deserving beneficiaries are added to the social cash transfer programme in the province.