President Edgar Lungu has said he would not tolerate further delays in farming input deliveries. The president warned that he would act against civil servants who did not comply with his directive to finish the task of delivering and distributing inputs.
Lungu said he was making public servants responsible for distributing seed and fertiliser to farmers within the next week.
“I will not accept excuses, and I will take decisive action against any civil servant, at any level, seen to be standing [in the way of] our quest to ensure food security,” said Lungu, in a statement.
Farmers have complained about delayed inputs, under both the new e-voucher system, and the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP).
In the last few weeks, traditional leaders and union farmers have called for accelerated input delivery.
Lungu spoke after his return from a three-day tour of rural Lusaka Province. He said he was disappointed with the pace of input deliveries, and promised to prioritise distribution of fertiliser and seed.
He also directed district commissioners and permanent secretaries to update him daily on the progress of input deliveries to farmers.
Lungu instructed the Treasury and the Ministry of Agriculture to clear farmers’ outstanding debts with suppliers.
“In some of the areas I visited there were cases where seed had not been distributed. This undermines our chances of a good harvest next year,” he said.
Predicted good rains for the season ahead, meant it was critical that seed and fertiliser reached the farmers before it was too late to plant.
The president toured the districts of Luangwa, Rufunsa and Chirundu of Lusaka Province.