William Limata: The agriculture policy reforms were done in order to boast food security at household and national level, intact it was response from the agreement signed at both regional and world level, for instance it is requirements of all SADC member state to allocate 20% of the national budget to agriculture programs.
It is from such agreement s which partly forced the Government and stakeholders to come up with FISP in order to escalate agriculture production at the small scale level.
The program at the initial stage was heavily funded donors in the quest to help for security at households’ level and to help the growth of peasant farmers into medium and eventually to commercial farmers.
Ideally the all program was initiated to make farmers to be Independent after three years of being on FISP and then co-opted in other group of peasant farmers and so on.
The general objective is to have more medium scale farmers for both food security and job creation. Actually the all idea is a copy cut from Kenya and Uganda and one need to do comparative study in order to appreciate the FISP program.
Therefore the government wanted to escalate agriculture production through quick distribution of farming inputs.
It is from that angle that it introduced e-voucher and strengthen the partnership with agro dealers for effective agriculture support program implementation.
However, the all idea was not well researched despite working relatively well in the piloted districts and rural farming communities.
The all idea backfired because of implementing a copy cut of the entire program from other countries without considering the demographic and characteristics of farming in Zambia.
As if that is not enough, the government has failed to meet regional agreement of allocating sufficient funds toward agriculture programs and hence the failure to pay agro dealers.
Equally, the idea of taking FISP as a political campaigning tool as completely killed the good intentions originators and hence the problems we are facing now.
Therefore the failure to pay agro dealers as strategic partners in implementing FISP will scale down farming production among peasant farmers which will spiral over on the national income.
The agro dealers will not provide farming inputs to local farmers which will entail that these farmers will not produce enough food at households level and what should be sold to FRA.
There will hunger at households level and increase in meal mealie at national level because of scarce maize grains.
Equally, the increment of selling price of the much consumed broiler s chickens will be eminent because of costly stock feeds.
Further the crop diversification programs which is good for food security will not be achieved.
Therefore the overall results will be increase in hunger among general populace which has negative effect on the gross domestic product. I submit.
And Democratic Party Eastern Province Provincial Chairperson Danton Ndhlovu: The role that agro dealers play in the new system of farming inputs is so critical. The agro dealers are in remote areas and can meet farmers in their local areas. The inputs they stock is received on agreement with suppliers and failure to pay them means;
- Suppliers to agro dealers will be affected.
- They will not do business with farmers.
- The farmers will have to travel long distances and brace long ques.
- Agro dealers bring cash into circulation and some are employers to locals.
- Agro dealers can be a reservoir of information on Agriculture challenges and act as agents
- Agro dealers can make farmers get the inputs they want instead of the traditional fertilizer and maize.
What this government wants is to get one Indian business to deal with farmers instead of local citizens.
Why do we have indigenous cabinet that places foreigners so him that locals have to be disadvantaged?
We are always thinking and budgeting in dollars we must be ashamed at times.
Agro dealers have helped and helping them with payments is food security so that they can continue to help farmers.
Tonight the motion is “Tribalism: what are its effects on our national politics?