The Ministry of Finance has released K115 million to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to facilitate the settlement of some dues in the reserve food purchasing chain.

In a statement today, Ministry of Finance public relations manager Chileshe Kandeta stated that a financing plan was underway to release an additional K85 million in a fortnight.

And Kandeta also announced that the Treasury had released K400 million for E-voucher and FISP.

“A few days ago, the Treasury released K400 million for the e-voucher and Farmer Input Support Programme to ensure the smooth management of the affairs of the agriculture input supply management system. To maintain the economic diversification drive, the government will, during the 2017/2018 farming season, fully migrate to the e-voucher system that is aimed at covering an estimated one million beneficiaries,” Kandeta stated.

“Further, the Government has obtained financing of USD 40 million from Exim Bank of India that will be used for agriculture mechanisation. In addition, the Government is facilitating a USD 100 million public private sector investment into a tractor and agriculture equipment assembly plant in the Lusaka South Multi Facility Economic Zone.

In 2018, the Government will continue with the implementation of the USD 50 million Zambia Acquaculture Enterprise Development Project.”

He stated that government would recruit 750 extension service workers.

“To support accelerated productivity in the wider agriculture sector, the Government will in 2018 also recruit 750 extension service workers for agriculture, fisheries, and livestock. For Ministry of Finance, all these efforts are evidential to the Governments resolve and firm standing in diversifying the economy through labour intensive sectors like agriculture,” stated Kandeta.