AGRICULTURE Minister Rueben Phiri says government will target a total of 1,024,434 farmers under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) in the 2021/2022 agricultural season.
Rendering a ministerial statement on the measures taken by government to equalize input distribution under FISP in the 2021/2022 agricultural season, Phiri said government commissioned an audit of the input distribution process under FISP as a precautionary measure to ensure that the right quantities of inputs were physically delivered to all districts.
“Madam Speaker, in the 2021/2022 agricultural season, the FISP will target a total of 1,024,434 farmers across the country. It is important to note that all the beneficiaries on the programme each contributed K400 to be eligible to receive inputs, and from this contribution, K100 will be paid as premiums towards weather index insurance. Allow me to update the House on the status of the FISP audit that the government commissioned in September 2021. The members of the House may wish to know that as a precautionary measure to ensure that the right quantities of inputs have been physically delivered to all districts in the country, government commissioned an audit of the input distribution process under FISP,” he said.
Phiri said government had contracted various suppliers to deliver 328,265 tonnes of fertilizer
“Madam Speaker, it is important to note that for the current agriculture season, government has contracted various suppliers to deliver a total of 328,265 tonnes of fertilizer. Madam Speaker, the audit is ongoing and so far, the findings have revealed that some suppliers have partially delivered inputs in districts. To be specific, the preliminary audit report also indicates that approximately 63 percent of the total contracted fertilizer has been delivered to date. It is for this reason that government has now engaged other relevant institutions to validate the findings of the audit in order to recommend a way forward,” he said.
Phiri said government would now ensure that all farmers under FISP receive six bags of fertilizer and a 10kg bag of Maize seed in all districts.
“Madam Speaker, over the years, the implementation of the FISP programme has favoured those who receive inputs under the direct input supply modality. I wish to state that the increase in commodity prices has disadvantaged farmers on the E-voucher modality because the subsidy value has remained unchanged for a long time. It has been established that farmers under the E-voucher modality have been receiving about two to three bags of fertilizer, whereas their counterparts under the direct input supply modality have been receiving up to six bags of fertilizer,” he said.
“This situation is unfair and the new government will correct it beginning this farming season. Given this picture, government has decided to ensure equity in inputs received on both the E-voucher and the direct input supply modalities. Madam Speaker, I wish to state that government will now ensure that all farmers under FISP will receive six bags of fertilizer and one10kg bag of maize seed in all districts across the country. This entails that farmers in Southern, Western and Lusaka provinces who were planned to be on the E-voucher modality will now receive the same inputs as those under the direct input supply modality. All farmers will receive equal inputs as contracted by government.”
Phiri said government had suspended the issuance of supplementary packs such as Soya Beans, groundnuts and sorghum under FISP.
“Further, I would like to emphasize that the change in the modality used in Southern, Western and Lusaka provinces will result in slight delays in the collection of inputs by the farmers. As we await the completion of the audit, government has suspended the issuance of supplementary packs such as Soya Beans, groundnuts and sorghum under FISP. Guidance on the distribution of supplementary packs will be provided as soon as possible to ensure that we do not allow wastage of the supplementary packs of seeds,” said Phiri.
When asked by Pambashe PF member of parliament Ronald Chitotela how much the ministry received from the Ministry of Finance for two provinces and two districts that were under the E-voucher programme, Phiri said “K535 million.”