THE Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) must be reviewed to allow poor household farmers have access to farm inputs, says Zambia Institute for Policy Analyses and Research (ZIPAR) research fellow Gibson Masumba.
In ZIPAR’s submissions to the committee on Economic Affairs, Energy and Labour with regards to sustainable poverty levels in Zambia, Mr Masumba said FISP policies needed to be reviewed if poverty reduction was to be achieved. He said while FISP was meant to target the poor, its impact on poverty could not be clearly observed because relatively wealthier households had more access to farm inputs than their poorer counterparts.
“If more poor households have access to farm inputs, they would be in a position to grow enough crops and supply to FRA and increase their incomes,” he said.
Mr Masumba said transaction costs should be reduced if more poor people were to be able to sell their produce to FRA because they faced high transaction costs when selling their produce.
“These transaction costs should be reduced if more poor people are to be able to sell their produce to FRA. “This means improving payment systems and making payments timelier than they are currently,” he said. Mr Masumba said the budget for Fertilizer Support Programme (FSP) had been swallowed reducing the coverage of FISP beneficiaries significantly. He therefore said there was need to increase coverage number of FSP beneficiaries.