The Zambian government will extend its Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) electronic voucher (e-voucher) system to livestock and fish farmers, said Agriculture Minister Dora Siliya.
Siliya assured crop farmers that all systems are in place to ensure farm inputs are delivered on time. “We need to increase support to fish and livestock farmers so that they also get a fair share of the government support their counterparts in crop farming are receiving,” she said.
Siliya, who did not give a timeline for the plan, said the move is in line with government’s economic diversification agenda. Low productivity is a major constraint to the development of the livestock sector – it is not expanding at a rate sufficient to meet growing demand.
Compounding the situation are frequent outbreaks of cattle diseases.
According to estimates by the Veterinary Department, Zambia’s livestock sector consists of 4 900 000 cattle, 4 800 000 goats, 500 000 sheep, 3 790 000 pigs and nearly 100 000 000 poultry. It is mostly concentrated in Eastern, Western and Southern Province.
On distribution of farmer inputs for this year’s planting season, Siliya said seed companies, financial institutions and agro dealers are ready.
“We are ready to roll out the e-voucher system to all 113 districts from the previous 53 districts,” she said.
Last year, distribution was fraught with delays and malpractice. It is envisaged that the revamped and now fully electronic system will address inefficiencies and promote transparency.