Government has released a further K200million for the 2016/2017 Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP).
According to finance minister Felix Mutati, this brings to K800 million the total amount released to fund this season’s FISP.
“The release of the money will keep on track government’s economic diversification through agriculture development,” Mutati said.
Sources in the agriculture sector say the money made available by the Treasury will help overcome hiccups that have beset the electronic voucher (e-voucher) payment system. Agriculture permanent secretary Julius Shawa recently told parliament that his ministry needed K400million more to sufficiently fund the programme.
Shawa told MP’s his ministry needed K1.04billion to sufficiently fund the e-voucher payments. It had however only received K620 million from Treasury. “This shortfall is contributing to the delays in the issuing of electronic Visa cards for a number of farmers to access their inputs,” Shawa said.
Government scaled up the e-voucher programme for the 2016/2017 farming season targeting 602 521 farmers in 39 districts. It also signaled its intention to fully implement the programme in the 2017/2018 farming season.