The electronic E-Voucher system has been a big success because it has helped Government expose over 20, 000 ghost farmers, Agriculture Minister Given Lubinda yesterday told Parliament.
And Mr Lubinda has assured members of Parliament that he would in the next few weeks explain to the House how Government intended to roll out the e-voucher system across the country.
Mr Lubinda was responding to a point of order which was raised by Monze Central Member of Parliament Jack Mwiimbu on February 17, 2016.
“In his point of order on the floor of this House, the honourable member of Parliament for Monze Central Jack Mwiimbu indicated that 5,400 farmers that had paid the requisite deposit had not benefited from the E-Voucher system,” he said.
Mr Lubinda explained that the E-Voucher system was designed such that farmers were only allowed to deposit their contribution after receiving their cards.
“Therefore, no farmers that have not received their cards have been allowed to deposit their contribution,” he said.
Mr Lubinda further said the records as at 11th February, 2016, indicated that the total number of cards that had not yet been distributed to farmers in Monze district was 3, 839.
He said the cards were printed and delivered late to the district due to late submission of names of beneficiaries from the district office.
Mr Lubinda said the submission of the beneficiary names from the district was done between August and September 2015.
“However, for Monze district, the final list of beneficiaries was only submitted on 9th November, 2015,” he said.
Mr Lubinda said the submission was even made later than the official launch of the E-Voucher system on 12th October, 2015 by President Edgar Lungu.
He explained that upon releasing the limited capacity by the initial two banks to reduce the remaining Visa Cards, the ministry decided to bring on board UBA Bank to help with the production of the Banks.
“It is from these UBA Banks cards that they are yet to be distributed 3, 839 cards came from. Even with this late submission, by the 11th of February, 2016, more than 90 percent of the targeted 27, 427 cards for Monze had been printed and distributed,” he said.
He however said the ministry had been informed by the Banks that they were being extra cautious in effecting the top up funds in order to avoid double loading.
“The honorable Member of Parliament for Monze Central wondered, and I quote ‘whether the farmers once again given the top up, will be able to access fertilize’. The e-voucher system was meant to help move farmers away from depending on rain fed agriculture to other farm enterprises,” he said.