Government to offset K241 million owed to farmers
Minister of Agriculture Michael Katambo says government will soon offset the K241 million debt owed farmers, who supplied maize to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA).
Mr. Katambo said government has so far released K20 million and will be releasing another K15 million every week to pay farmers, till the debt is settled.
The Minister assured that his ministry has engaged the Ministry of Finance through the treasury, to ensure that the funds are made available, in order for payment to be made to the farmers.
Mr. Katambo said that late payment to farmers for the maize supplied to FRA has slowed down the e-voucher contribution of K400 for this season.
He said government will ensure that it offsets the debt to farmers before the onset of the rainy season, in order to enable farmers pay their e-voucher contribution which government subsidises with a K1700 per farmer.
Mr. Katambo said the e-voucher will not be abolished because it is the best tool of empowering farmers with inputs.
He said the Ministry of Agriculture has targeted one million farmers to benefit from the Farmer Input Support Program (FISP) through the e-voucher system who will be weaned off after three farming seasons.
The Minister said in districts where the e-voucher faced challenges due to non-existence of financial institutions and network, the government is issuing a document called an authority to collect and deposit, to ease the process of implementing the program.
Source: Lusaka Times