By ADRIAN MWANZA
GOVERNMENT has released K 667 million to the Food Re- serve Agency (FRA) for out- standing payments to farmers under the 2020/2021 marketing season.
Minister of Finance and National Planning Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane said all outstanding payments to farm- ers for the 2020/2021 season have now been cleared.
Dr Musokotwane said the action by the Treasury was significant because it represented a policy shift of the UPND Government to prioritise the agri- culture sector as it presented the best opportunity to attain growth, especially that about 80 percent were dependent on it.
“The sector has a relatively short gestation period with low capital requirements that are necessary to address poverty and vulnerability,” he said.
He said the sector has for a long time faced a number of impediments to the realisation of its full potential.
These include, he said, the historical delayed payments for grains supplied to the Food Reserve Agency, which impact on the productivity of a subse- quent farming season.
Dr Musokotwane said the matter has substantially been dealt with this month so that the farmers could focus on their fields instead of chasing payments.
He urged those in charge to ensure that a transparent payment system was deployed in paying farmers, without delay.