CIVIL Society Scaling Up Nutrition Alliance (CSO-SUN) has called for quick, decisive action against civil servants stealing farming inputs meant for the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) beneficiaries.

In a statement, CSO-SUN country coordinator Mathews Mhuru stated that the continued pilferage of farming inputs by civil servants entrusted to look after the commodities with no action being taken by law enforcement remained a source of concern that could pose a danger to the nation’s food security.

“The Civil Society Scaling up Nutrition Alliance has appealed to government to quickly act in order to halt the theft of fertilizer meant for beneficiaries of the Farmer Input Support Programme allegedly by civil servants. The continued pilferage of farming inputs by people entrusted to look after the commodities with less action being taken by those in authority is a source of concern. CSO-SUN is particularly concerned that, to-date, no action has been taken on the 300 bags of fertilizer that was stolen in early December, 2020, in Luanshya District on the Copperbelt. We are further concerned that thefts have also been reported in other provinces, such as Southern with the latest being Katete District in Eastern Province also involving civil servants among them officers from the Office of the President, district commissioners and district agriculture officers,” he stated.

And he urged government to quickly investigate the thefts because the vice could affect crop production and lead to continued reliance on relief food by most Zambians.

“We want to urge government to quickly investigate these thefts and ensure that anyone that will be found wanting is brought to book. If left unchecked, this situation is likely to affect crop production resulting in continued dependence on relief food by most Zambians. With the early distribution of farming inputs and good rainfall recorded this rainy season, it was our expectation that Zambia will record good harvests of most crops, but this will not be the case if civil servants continue to steal inputs meant for the vulnerable. CSO-SUN is worried that such attitudes will also affect the fight against malnutrition, which is largely dependent on the availability of food,” stated Mhuru.