GOVERNMENT will continue to work with other stakeholders in promoting agriculture in the country, says agriculture minister Given Lubinda.
Mr Lubinda said Government had for many years been working with the other stakeholders to development agriculture through the provision of inputs and other related support.
He said therefore that it was incorrect for anyone to insinuate that Government did not want other players to support farmers.
“For many years Government has been working with the other stakeholders in promoting the development of agriculture in this country,
“It is therefore incorrect for anyone to insinuate that Government does not want other players to support farmers,” said Mr Lubinda.
In a statement Mr Lubinda said Government had collaborated and supported a lot of programmes, such as out grower schemes and other private sector efforts meant to benefit farmers across the country.
Mr Lubinda said the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), a Government supported programme, for the 2015/2016 farming season was being implemented using two different input distribution modalities.
“The electronic voucher system (e-voucher system) is being used to support farmers in thirteen (13) districts. Under the e-voucher system, selected farmers were given visa cards instead of the actual agricultural inputs,
“After the farmers make their contributions of K400.00 each, each card is loaded with a total of K2, 100.00,” he said.
He explained that with the loaded and activated card, each farmer was at liberty to buy agricultural inputs of their choice.
The minister said under the e-voucher system, Government was collaborating with various stakeholders, including banks, input suppliers, agro-dealers and service providers.
“This marks the difference between the electronic voucher system and the conventional FISP implementation system. The electronic voucher system gives the farmer freedom to buy agricultural inputs of their choice,” he said.
Mr Lubinda said apart from selected parts were the e-voucher was piloted; the rest of the country is being covered under the conventional FISP input distribution modalities.
“Government aims to give the best support to farmers. I therefore appeal to all those wishing to support farmers to collaborate with Government in order to enhance coordination and avoid duplication, wastage of resources and confusing the farmers,” he said.