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‘Government has failed farmers’

…as President Hichilema admits delay in delivery of fertiliser, takes responsibility

By NATION REPORTER

The government has confessed that the delivery and distribution of fertiliser and other farming inputs has been acutely delayed.

Patriotic Front acting president Given Lubinda has charged that the delay and in some cases, total failure to deliver the fertiliser was as a result of the UPND government’s desire to blacklist all the credible and established suppliers with the stocks in their warehouses on the false perception that they were linked to the former ruling party.   

President Hichilema has, however, for the umpteenth time, promised farmers and Zambians at large that the fertiliser and seed shall be delivered and distributed as the challenges that had caused the delay had been sorted out.

The President has promised that his administration would ensure that fertiliser and other farming inputs would be delivered and distributed to farmers across the country much earlier than had been the case during the 2022/2023 farming season. 

“The fertiliser and the seed have delayed and I accept the responsibility. But the fertiliser and seed will be coming…and more will come. We have worked on the challenges and more fertiliser will come on time next year,” Mr Hichilema said.

But Mr Lubinda has chastised President Hichilema and the UPND administration for having messed up the agriculture sector by failing to deliver the fertiliser on time.

Mr Lubinda said the failure by the UPND government to deliver fertiliser on time was self-inflicted because the new dawn administration thought all the fertiliser suppliers were PF sympathisers who should have been blacklisted from doing business with the government.

He said the UPND broke the fertiliser supply chain by getting rid of all the suppliers who were doing business with Government during the PF reign which had resulted in the failure to procure the commodity.

“The delay and in some cases, the total failure by the UPND government to deliver and distribute fertiliser to farmers for the 2022/2023 farming season is self-inflicted.

The delay has been cause by the false perception that all the suppliers who were doing business with Government were aligned to the PF. The UPND government wanted to remove or black list all suppliers who had the commodity so that they could replace them with their friends,” Mr Lubinda said.

Mr Lubinda stated that in the quest to award contracts to procure, supply, deliver and distribute fertiliser, the UPND administration had ended up creating a crisis in the agriculture sector with a potential to deliver the country to hunger and starvation.

“Zambians must prepare for more and more blunders from the UPND government.

And Mr Lubinda has criticised the government’s decision to allow trucks that would be delivering fertiliser across the country to move in the night in an attempt to beat the deadline.

He said when government came up with a Statutory Instrument that stopped trucks and public transport buses from moving in the night, it was meant to curb the many accidents which were leading to the loss of lives.

“”Since the Statutory Instrument banning trucks and public transport buses from moving in the night was passed, we have seen a number of night accidents reducing. But this government of novices have created a crisis in the delivery of fertiliser and are now resorting to undoing the laws that were meant to protect the lives of the people and property. They think the trucks should be exempted from police checks and weigh-bridges in an attempt to beat the deadline,” Mr Lubinda said.

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