The Zambian government has broadened the number of crops to be covered under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) to accelerate crop diversification.
Agricultural minister Dora Siliya said the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) will buy all crops produced by farmers under FISP.
“FISP will now support about 10 crops to accelerate crop diversification among farmers. And I want to assure farmers that FRA would buy the crops they will produce,” Siliya said.
Tomatoes, cassava, cashew nuts and groundnuts are among the crops included in the broadened crop coverage under FISP. Previously, the programme largely covered maize.
“Farmers should not concentrate on maize farming alone, and therefore, they take advantage of government’s decision to broaden the number of crops under FISP,” Siliya said.
Siliya also reiterated the need for farmers to embrace mechanisation of farming to increase food production.
On the import ban on fresh produce, Siliya said there is still a need to market local products and identify problems that farmers face in meeting local demand.
She also stressed the need for value addition to local agricultural products.