Distribution of farming inputs for the 2017-2018 faming season is expected to commence on the 15th of October, 2017 according to Agriculture Minister, Dora Siliya.
Small scale farmers have sounded an alarm that the upcoming farming season will be like past seasons where farming inputs are delivered late. However, Siliya said government had put in place mechanisms to ensure that the challenges faced last year in distribution of funds were addressed.
A total of K 1.8 billion was allocated to the E-Voucher Farmer Input Support Program (FISP) and a further K 1.1 billion to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) for the purposes of maintaining food security grain reserves of 500, 000 metric tonnes.
The 2017-2018 farming season will fully migrate to the e- voucher system to cover 1 million beneficiaries. Siliya said government had this year devised a mechanism to separate vulnerable farmers from those who are in farming strictly for business.
The rain season seems to have come early this year though the metrology department is yet to advise the best time to plant for the 10 regions of Zambia. The climate change effects have made weather forecasting more challenging and threatens rain dependent agricultural practices.
The Minister noted that the E Voucher programme was a project that government had put in place to ensure timely and effective distribution of resources to farmers.