UPND president Hakainde Hichilema says President Edgar Lungu must declare this year’s agriculture season a national disaster because there is crop failure due to his bad policies.
And Hichilema says President Lungu should not be too comfortable that he will be in office come 2021 because he might not make it to the next election.
The opposition leader was speaking in Mungule area in Katuba of Chibombo district after touring some affected maize fields.
During the tour, farmers complained that those who used personal resources to plant maize were disappointed because the droughts had resulted in crop failure whilst other farmers had not yet received inputs due to the faulty e-voucher system.
The farmers also lamented that FRA had not yet paid for the maize they sold from last year’s farming season.
Mumbwa UPND member of parliament Credo Nanjuwa told journalists and other party officials that the situation was no different in his constituency.
“As a representative of the people of Mumbwa, I can confirm that what is happening in Chibombo is also happening in Mumbwa. Farmers are very desperate. By last week I had statistics which showed that 2.4 million was paid to the farmers and 1.2 million had not been paid yet by FRA. And also, I have got a situation where some farmers who deposited K400 in the previous season could not access the inputs and even this farming season, they have not. So that is the terrible situation and I don’t know what the government of PF is going to do with that because if a farmer, two times is depositing money and is not accessing inputs, then that farmer is in a terrible situation,” said Nanjuwa.
Addressing Katuba residents after his tour, Hichilema asked President Lungu to declare a national disaster so that cooperating partners could donate resources towards preventing a hunger crisis.
“We agree that the country is in a crisis and I ask Lungu today and his government, which is a stolen government, to declare a national disaster, a food national disaster so that we can attend to the problem of hunger arising from the failure of agriculture for the reasons I have mentioned. Because when a disaster is declared, one of the processes to attract funding from everyone, everywhere to ensure that we can now begin to bring food to save our people that are dying out of hunger,” Hichilema said.
“They are already dying out of Cholera, Cholera brought by the PF themselves and then they are saying HH, HH waba nyoko? When there is any problem in the country, they blame it on HH. Hunger, HH, Cholera, HH, so they know that HH is the solution. Get out of government so that HH can solve those problems.”
He listed a number of factors which had led to crop failure.
“What we have seen is that the crop has failed because there is no leadership in PF. They have policies which have caused farmers to receive inputs very late. It means that they don’t understand agriculture. They heard that I was coming for a site visit and this is when they are bringing basal dressing? This time of the month? They are even forcing farmers to get soya beans which they don’t want. E-voucher has completely failed. This is working and thinking upside down, that’s what the PF do,” he said.
“Even from the slogan dunnuna reverse, you can tell this party is not serious. We can see the reverse gear by delivering inputs late. The second major reason why the crop has failed is the failure by PF to invest in weather forecasting because they stole the money from the roads. If they had invested, they would have told farmers not to plant at this time because there will be a drought. We have no leadership in this country.”
Hichilema said the UPND, once voted into office would ensure that inputs were delivered on time and weather forecasts were given priority.
And Hichilema told President Lungu not to get excited about 2021 because he might not make it to the next election as Head of State.
“I am told when Lungu came here, instead of talking about the problems of agriculture, he was saying he defeated HH in 2016 and he will defeat him in 2021. Two issues, he did not defeat HH, stealing the vote is not the same as defeating HH. You stole the vote. You know it. So you cannot say you defeated HH. Second and very important issue, who told him that he will be there in 2021? Only God knows. There could be change happening any time as it happened in Zimbabwe. Lungu has demonstrated that it is very easy to steal a vote but very difficult to run a country…because you have no plan, no vision,” said Hichilema.