FORMER agriculture minister Michael Katambo says the UPND government should give PF a pat on the back for the great things they did in the agriculture sector.

And Katambo says individuals who are fraudulently obtaining FISP packages for true beneficiaries should face the wrath of the law.

Last week, Police in Mambwe district of Eastern Province said they had recovered 63 by 50 kilogram bags of FISP fertilizer believed to have been stolen from some farmers of Msoro ward in Mambwe Constituency.

In an interview, Monday, Katambo said the bumper harvest that the new administration was sitting on now was the product of PF.

“What we did in the agriculture sector, the positive objectives, the positive programmes that we did well for the farmers of this country – the new government also is supposed to give us a pat on the back. It is not always to condemn that what PF did is misfortune. I heard the minister saying ‘what PF did in the agriculture sector was a misfortune’, are you telling me the bumper harvest that they are sitting on now today, the 3.6 million metric tonnes of maize, was it the UPND that produced that? It was under the PF government. So we are anticipating their harvest this coming farming season, so when we have done positive things it is important as leaders to say thank you to one another. Equally, me as a former minister, if my colleague is doing well I will be able to say thank you,” Katambo said.

“This is the way to go, not everything that we did is rubbished, we did great things in the agriculture sector. We enabled Zambia as a net exporter of seed. Was it the new dawn government? The issue of growing onions and potatoes at the large scale, is it this government? So we need to thank one another, we need to pull one another, that is what governance is all about. We shall support the government of course if they are doing the right things. That is why we are there to do the checks and balances. It is not everything that PF did [which] is [a] misfortune; would we be surviving as a country if we did misfortune things in the agriculture sector?”

And Katambo said individuals who were fraudulently obtaining FISP packages for true beneficiaries should face the wrath of the law.

“If a minister is a criminal, whether a farmer is a criminal, whether a priest is a criminal, a criminal is a criminal. So those people that are fraudulently obtaining the FISP packages for true beneficiaries should face the wrath of the law. It is simple, why should you steal something that does not belong to you? If government has taken that path to apprehend those that are found wanting, that’s the best way to go because government is targeting true beneficiaries. FISP has big major impact and that’s why that programme should continue because farmers benefit and this enhances household food security. The little bags that the small scale farmers, especially the vulnerable farmers produce also contribute to the national basket,” said Katambo.