The distribution of inputs under government’s Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) for this year’s planting season will start in June. The timing coincides with the start of crop marketing for the 2017/2018 season.
Ministry of Agriculture permanent secretary Julius Shawa said the procurement process for the inputs has already started.
“Farmers are likely to start receiving farm inputs as early as June this year, immediately after the procurement process is done,” Shawa said. Last season’s distribution of farmer inputs was chaotic with most farmers receiving their inputs late. Compounding the situation were glitches related to the newly introduced e-voucher system.
The system will be rolled out in full this year. The decision raised the ire of farmers and traditional chiefs who feared it might lead to a dip in this year’s harvest. Nevertheless, a bumper harvest is predicted for Zambia.
Shawa said the early distribution of farm inputs will mitigate problems experienced last season.
On the full roll-out of e-vouchers, government will have cards activated on time to allow farmers to plant immediately once the rainy season starts.
“Farmers must start preparing for this year’s farming season by saving adequate funds for procurement of farm inputs,” he said.
Shawa said the coinciding of the crop marketing exercise with the start of farmer input distribution will work to the advantage of farmers as they won’t solely depend on government for the supply of inputs.
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