Zambian Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya said K1.7 billion will be released next week for the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), which this year runs on a full electronic voucher (e-voucher) system.
“By the end of November, government will release the money to pay farmers under the e-voucher system,” Siliya said.
She urged farmers to pay the K400 needed to ensure immediate activation of their cards. At least 1 million smallholder farmers will benefit from the revamped programme.
However, more than a month after the date announced to roll out the e-vouchers, farmers are yet to access farming inputs for this year’s planting season. It caused panic among farmers, as it has already started raining.
Meanwhile, a shortage of D Compound fertiliser has hit parts of Zambia, exacerbating farmers’ anxieties.
Ministry of Agriculture Permanent Secretary Julius Shawa said government is trying to address the shortage.
“The fertiliser will soon be in the country – before the planting season ends,” Shawa said.
Districts in Eastern and Muchinga Provinces are worst affected. Other provinces have sporadic shortages, with the private sector stepping in to meet demand.
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