By NATION REPORTER
PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema should not only take responsibility for the chaotic and disastrous management of the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) which has resulted into the delay and some cases failure to deliver and distribute fertiliser but should also put in place measures that would avert looming hunger next year, Given Lubinda has said.
While addressing a rally in North-Western Province on Friday last week, President Hichilema admitted that there has been delays in the distribution of fertilizer and other farming inputs but assured that the commodity was be delivered to the farmers.
But Mr Lubinda, the Patriotic Front (PF) acting president says now that the Head of State has admitted his inability to meet the pledge of early delivery of fertiliser, it was prudent that the he should tell citizens the measures put in place to mitigate the looming hunger.
Mr Lubinda said there shall be a general shortage of food for the 2023/2024 season and that President Hichilema should ensure that there was adequate food so that no Zambian should suffer starvation.
He said it was the responsibility of the Head of State to ensure measures were in place that would not trigger price escalation for mealie meal as a result of the poor maize yield that was being expected.
Mr Lubinda stated that it was not enough for the Head of State to take responsibility over the delayed delivery and distribution of fertilizer but that the President should equally atone for the mess that had been created in the agriculture sector.
“It is one thing for President Hichilema to accept responsibility in the manner the 2022/2023 FISP has been handled and another for the Head of State to atone to the disastrous manner in which the delivery and distribution of fertilizer has been mismanaged. President Hichilema should not just end at telling Zambians that he accepts the responsibility over the failure by his government to meet the expectations of citizens but should go further to assure Zambians that he has put in place measures that will mitigate the looming hunger which will be as a result of the mismanagement of FISP,” Mr Lubinda said.
He said the UPND administration had continued promising Zambians that it shall meet their expectation and that President Hichilema had yet again that there shall be an improvement in the management of FISP next year after recording dismal failure in the 2022/2023 framing season.
“To tell us that he (President Hichilema) that he will do better next year is not enough because the whole of the 2023/2024 season, there shall be a shortage of maize and the prices for mealie meal and will definitely increase. The failure of the agriculture sector this season has been as a result of the UPND administration attempting to award fertilizer contracts to their cronies,” Mr Lubinda said.