• The E-voucher is the worst evil which has ever happened.
• It didn’t benefit the farmers, it was benefiting the middlemen.
• Farmers have been disadvantaged quite a lot.
Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) says the Electronic Voucher system was only benefiting middlemen and not farmers who were on the program.
Union President Jervis Zimba stated that the system in its current form is the worst thing which has ever happened, because farmers have been disadvantaged.
Mr. Zimba commended government for allowing provinces that were on the E-voucher system to go on directly supply, as there will be equal distribution of inputs for all the farmers.
“We would like to congratulate the Minister and the Head of State for allowing the provinces which were under the E-voucher to go on direct supply. We have always said that in its current form, the E-voucher is the worst evil which has ever happened, because the farmers have been disadvantaged quite a lot. We know a lot of what has been going on under the E-Voucher system, it didn’t benefit the farmers it was benefiting the middlemen,” Mr. Zimba said.
He advised government to ensure that stakeholders are engaged before implementing the E-voucher system in future so that all the loopholes which characterized the program can be ironed out.
“We are very happy that it will be equal for all the farmers and we are urging government that before they reconsider in future applying the E-Voucher system, we as stakeholders and government must sit down so that we iron out all the loopholes which were there. There were extremely very serious loopholes.”
“Prices would change at any time and the farmers would not benefit at all. Last year the prices shot and farmers only got three bags of inputs. Now what do you do with three bags? What is going to be your production?” he wondered.
Meanwhile, Mr. Zimba advised farmers to ensure that prudent use of the fertilizer they are receiving so that production can go up in the next agriculture season.
“Otherwise we thank and we have told the farmers that please use this fertilizer properly so that we can have at least production up in the coming season, the rains look good and we hope that the farmers will benefit at the end of the day,” Mr. Zimba stated.
Government has suspended the E-voucher system and farmers countrywide will receive six bags of fertilizer and a 10-kilogramme bag of maize seed through the Farmer Input Support Programme, (FISP).
Agriculture Minister, Reuben Phiri recently disclosed that the move is aimed at removing inequalities in the distribution of inputs between farmers receiving through the direct system and those on the E-voucher system.