• Farmers are concerned with the reported delays in finalizing the procurement processes for the 2022 FISP fertilizers.
• Most small scale farmers depend on FISP for their inputs.
• This state-of-affairs could have been avoided if the roadmap agreed in April was adhered to.
Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) has called on President Hakainde Hichilema to set up an inter-ministerial committee to handle the issue surrounding the 2022-2023 Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) fertilizers and seed availability, harness united efforts and coordinate timely delivery.
Union President Jervis Zimb told Money FM News that farmers are concerned with the reported delays in finalizing the procurement processes for the 2022 FISP fertilizers.
Mr. Zimba noted that most small scale farmers depend on FISP for their inputs, hence the delay in procuring the fertilizers is a blow and could spell doom on a sector that is still grappling with effects of climate change resulting from prolonged dry spells experienced last season.
“The fact is rains are just around the corner in some parts of the country and any further delay and lack of clear direction on fertilizer availability will adversely impact on production and productivity for the 2022/2023 farming season. This will lead to diminishing income opportunities, food insecurity and stagnation in the poverty trap for most farmers. “
“This state-of-affairs could have been avoided if the roadmap agreed in April was adhered to because back then, the recommendation by the private sector was that the processes be concluded by June 2022. We cannot understand the on-going inertia and farmers are asking! What is the alternative? We urge the Minister of Agriculture to address the farmers on the Fertilizer Procurement developments,” Mr. Zimba said.
He added that the current FISP mess will require the Head of State’s intervention to instill hope in the minds of the farmers.
“Every day that passes is edging us closer to the farming season. There is no more time to waste. We appeal to President Hichilema to set up an Inter-Ministerial Committee to handle the issue of the 2022 FISP fertilizer and Seed availability, harness united efforts and coordinate timely delivery. What is happening right now is watching a crisis unfolding but behaving as if there is no crisis. This is unfortunate as farmers livelihoods are at stake,” he added.
On Tuesday, Agriculture Minister Reuben Phiri flagged-off the distribution of inputs under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), for 2022-2023 farming season, targeting over one million Smallholder farmers countrywide.