By OLIVER SAMBOKO
THE onset of the rains has caused panic among farmers depending on FISP because of delays in distribution of farming inputs being experienced in most districts.
The farmers, who are now flocking to input distribution centres in large numbers, fear that delays in commencing cultivation will affect the harvest.
Small-Scale farmer’s Development Agency (SAFADA) chairperson Boyd Moobwe said some districts had only received a few bags of fertiliser and seed.
Mr Moobwe urged the government to expedite inputs distribution and put in place a better system that would ensure that farmers get their inputs on time considering that the rains had started.
He said SAFADA is disappointed with the manner the distribution of fertiliser was being done especially that there was a halt in supply and that if nothing was done quickly to resolve the issue, the country may suffer poor harvest.
“Our appeal is that Government through the Ministry of Agriculture to quickly resolve the shortcomings in the distribution of inputs so that the small-scale farmers are not disadvantaged,” he said.
Mr Moobwe also asked the Ministry of Agriculture to come up with policies that would ensure the sector flourish and positively contribute to the country’s economic development.
He said while the government had put in place many programmes aimed at improving the agriculture sector, most of these interventions have not worked for the farmer.
Mr Moobwe said they were aware the government wants to phase out FISP and replace it with a new programme to be called Comprehensive Agriculture Support Programme, but predicted that this was also bound to fail like the previous ones.
He wondered why all government programmes failed to achieve the purpose they were created for.
“There are no government programmes that have flourished and without hiccups and we are wondering what the problem is, or is it that the technocrats are not doing the right thing,” said Mr Moobwe.
He observed that despite working hard to feed the nation, farmers have continued to live in poverty and were not enjoying their sweat.
Mr Moobwe said there was need for technocrats to come up with tangible programmes that would not only improve the agriculture sector but also ensure that the farmers start benefitting from their labour.