Green Party leader Peter Sinkamba says Agriculture Minister Dora Siliya must quit her position if she has failed to run the sector instead of having sleepless nights over farmers’ problems because her continued stay in office is worsening the situation.
And Sinkamba says FISP and E-Voucher were failed projects which the State was using to exploit farmers.
Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya said when she featured on ZNBC’s Chintobentobe programme on Sunday that she spends sleepless nights trying to make sure that all farmers received their inputs in good time for planting.
But Sinkamba said in an interview on Tuesday that it was important for the minister to give up instead of taking the blame for challenges which were not under her control.
“The Minister of Agriculture is saying she is having sleepless nights, why should you waste your time having sleepless nights when it is not your fault? Instead of having sleepless nights, if it’s other people’s problem you leave, you quit because it’s not moral to trouble people of God in this manner. We made it very clear during the campaigns last year that FISP E-Voucher system are failed projects. I think we are being proven right this time as we are moving on. This is the second time, second season they are implementing the E-voucher and we were hoping that they had improved from the first season but it has even become worse,” Sinkamba observed.
He said the late distribution of inputs and seeds was not only wasting the farmers energy and time but also destroying people’s lives.
“As the Green Party, we have always said [that] this thing of FISP through E-voucher system, is a failed project. There will be need to totally abandon it and think of something more progressive. If you look at the planting season last year, we had farmers being given FISP in January, February which was too late for any maize planting. And here, the Metrological Department had indicted that latest planting was supposed to be on the 15th November but stretching it this far in January, we are just wasting people’s energy and time. Because at the end of the day we are not going to achieve any tangible results,” said Sinkamba.
“It’s a pity that we have these programs where the farmers are seriously undermined, actually exploited by the state. Last week or the other week, the FRA board was saying ‘no we are going to start paying some of the farmers’. Meaning that up to now a very significant number of farmers have not been paid from the year’s crop. And then you are giving them seed and inputs very late? What are you doing? You are destroying people’s lives.”