SOME Small scale farmers in Kitwe have accused the Patriotic Front (PF) government of having derailed the agriculture sector with resultant consequences.
The farmers who went to complain to district commissioner Elias Kamanga, cited government decision to start with the distribution of urea fertilizer, instead of starting with Compound D which was for basal dressing.
The farmers from Nalubonse Multi-purpose Cooperative in Kitwe said the decision by the PF government to was a clear indication that it was ignorant about the activities in agriculture sector.
Speaking on behalf of the other farmers, Wilson Mukingi said the government should have started with the distribution of Compound D so that the farmers could use it when planting the maize.
Mr Mukingi was speaking at the weekend when farmers went to Nyiombo Investment in Kitwe accompanied by Mr Kamanga to check on how much fertiliser had been distributed.
The farmers were shocked that while there was both Urea and Compound D fertiliser at Nyiombo only Urea was being given to the farmers.
“As farmers, we are shocked that we could be given Urea instead of Compound D which is basal dressing. We don’t want Urea now. Is government ignorant about the agriculture sector that it could be doing things in the opposite way,” Mr Mukingi said.
Mr Mukingi said the delay to distribute the Compound D was likely to affect the crop yield, adding that the farmers felt neglected by the PF government starting from the distribution of agricultural inputs to the payment of money by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA).
He said it was sad that, while some farmers were pursuing money for the maize they had sold to FRA, others were pushing the government for the delayed distribution of inputs. But Mr Kamanga appealed to the farmers to remain calm as government was trying to find a lasting solution to their problems to ensure that the agriculture sector continued to grow.
Mr Kamanga said government was discussing with Nyiombo Investment and Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ) to resolve the problem of late distribution of fertiliser.
“We understand that you need Compound D fertiliser and so we are trying to find a solution to the problem,” Mr Kamanga said.