Farmers have alleged that agriculture extension officers are responsible for the malpractice rampant in the administration of the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP).
President of the National Union of Small-Scale Farmers Association (NUSSFZ) Frank Kayula urged government to deal with extension officers in areas where 20 000 ineligible beneficiaries of FISP were identified.
“It is the extension officers who are contributing to the increase in ghost farmers in the FISP,” Kayula said.
Last week the ministry of agriculture announced it removed 20 000 so-called ghost farmers from FISP, after a review to improve the administration of the programme. FISP supports more than 1.6 million smallholder farmers, and its cost increased to K2.3billion from K1.8billion in the last two years.
Kayula asked authorities to hold extension officers to account. “This will ensure that extension officers are transparent in the registration of beneficiaries of FISP and curb corruption in the procurement of inputs. Most of the so-called beneficiaries on the FISP are not small-scale farmers but just people who own small fields,” he said.
Kayula said there is also a need for closer collaboration between the ministry of agriculture and farmer bodies to ensure the rightful beneficiaries are registered.
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