Syndicates have diverted inputs meant for vulnerable farmers as part of the government’s Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), said Zambian President Edgar Lungu.
“I’m aware of unscrupulous people who formed cooperatives for the sole purpose of getting fertiliser which they have exported in the region,” Lungu said.
He said the e-voucher still needs “fixing” to ensure vulnerable farmers did not suffer as result of weaknesses in the system. He was responding to complaints about delayed farmer inputs from farmers in Northern Province, where he is touring.
Without providing detail on how much fertiliser had been redirected, Lungu vowed to press on with fine-tuning the system designed to support 1 million smallholder farmers at the cost of K1.8 billion.
A previous audit, carried out before this year’s planting season, found a litany of failings, including 600 000 so called ghost-farmers.
The distribution of inputs under the reformed system got off to a slow start, with government blaming the banks for failure to handle the roll-out.