Zambian Finance Minister, Felix Mutati said 600 000 so-called ghost farmers were removed from the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), saving the treasury K1 billion.
According to Mutati, the 1.6 million from the last farming season were littered with non-existent farmers and duplicate beneficiaries.
He said the migration to a complete electronic voucher (e-voucher) payment system will end malpractice and maladministration in the 2017/2018 season. Government will spend K1.8 billion to support 1 million smallholder farmers.
The cost of FISP increased to K2.3 billion from K500 million over the last two years, leading to much criticism of the scheme.
Among the fiercest critics was Bank of Zambia (BoZ) Governor Denny Kalyalya, who urged the parliamentary committee on budget and estimates to scrap the programme.
Government has since reformed the programme. Changes include imposing a limit on the number of years a recipient may benefit.
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