By NCHIMUNYA MIYOBA
Kitwe District Commissioner Binwell Mpundu says over 8000 farmers in the district have made initial payment of K400.00 for the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP).
Speaking in an interview when he gave an update of the district, Mr Mpundu said by last week Friday the District Agriculture Coordinating office recorded a total of 8500 out of more than 9000 farmers captured by the office.
Mr Mpundu said the FISP is going on well with most farmers expected not to have problems to access the government programme.
He, however, said that some farmers had complained through his office that some Agro dealers were refusing farmers to access the farming inputs because some dealers were skeptical of releasing farm inputs owing to the procedure of them doing the invoicing to government in order for them to receive payments.
“The problem has been resolved and now farmers are accessing the inputs as long as they pay the initial payment.
“Despite running the programme smoothly, some farmers in Misaka farming area are facing challenges in accessing the government programme and I have since called them to meet me and find a solution to the challenges they are facing,” he said.
And Mr Mpundu said the Kitwe administration is prepared for any disaster in the farming sector in case of army worms.
He said the processing of allocating offer letters to the illegal settlers in the Mwekera forest had been slowly going on as the resettlement unit at the province was the one giving out offer letters to the settlers.
Mr Mpundu assured the settlers that government through the Vice President office is doing everything possible to ensure that all the settlers were given letters of offer for the pieces of land that was degazzeted in Mwekera.
“The process of giving out letters will be done in phases as the initial 3,000 farmers that were captured for the 6,000 degazzeted land has increased. Government has no intention of leaving anyone in the cold as it is government priority to empower citizens through farming.
“My office is trading very consciously regarding the ultimatum I gave the settlers last year to vacate the reserve forest as the office is aware we are dealing with human beings. I assure the settlers that government will not remove any settler at the moment because it has not finalized the process of issuing offer letters,” he said.
The DC reminded anyone that had not received the letters or had any complaint to feel free and visit his office so that they can harmonized the misgiving.
Last year the District administration gave the squatters an ultimatum to vacate the forest by April 30, 2017 but the ultimatum was moved to December 2017.