AGRICULTURE minister Dora Siliya says government will soon hold a stakeholders meeting to review the performance of the Farmer Input Support Programme.

Siliya, who is also Petauke Central PF member of parliament, told the House yesterday that government was working towards providing solutions to challenges affecting the implementation of FISP; particularly the Electronic-Voucher system, which many stakeholders had branded a failure.

“Under the e-voucher system, a total of K803.7 million was disbursed for implementation, out of the K1.026 billion required. And of the 602,521 cards in the system, 513,786 were sent for activation, and as of Monday this week, a total of 434, 762 cards, were activated with the amount disbursed so far. This leaves a balance of K260.1 million for activation on the cards already distributed to the framers. A further K5.9 million is owed to the five participating banks for the production of the e-voucher cards,” Siliya said.

“To this effect, the government is planning to hold a stakeholders meeting to review the performance of FISP, share experiences and also improve performance of the programme during the 2017/2018 farming season.”

Siliya attributed delays in inputs distribution of to late release of FISP funds; resulting in delayed payments to seed and fertiliser suppliers as well as transporters for inputs and services provided during the 2015/2016 farming season.

She also said fertiliser demand of this farming season was underestimated by major suppliers as the total demand of the commodity in the country, both basal and top dressing, was about 400,000 tonnes per annum.

Siliya said the amount still owed to fertiliser and seed suppliers, including transporters was K2 billion in this farming season.

“Those that supplied fertiliser are owed K1.67 billion, for seeds K3332.9 million, while the transporters are at K8.4 million,” said Siliya.

Most members of parliament supported government’s proposal to hold a stakeholders meeting to review the performance of FISP and they also collectively condemned the late delivery of farming farming inputs.