SMALL-SCALE farmers in Kapiri Mposhi have protested the delays to activate their e-voucher cards for government subsidised farming inputs.
The furious farmers, who stormed the office of the District Agriculture Coordinator in Kapiri Mposhi on Monday, were demanded answers on why they could not access their farming inputs from the agricultural dealers despite depositing funds in the Farmer Input Support Programme accounts last year.
Speaking on behalf of other affected farmers from two farming camps, Liaco Chisenga, who is the Secretary of Chola Central Co-operatives from Lukanda B Block Camp, said the farmers had been frequenting the banks with the view of finding out when their e-voucher cards would be activated for them to access inputs but were turned away over anomalies on the cards.
“We have been going to the banks with our vouchers on several occasions but only to be told that there are some errors on the cards. Now our fields have been affected as we cannot access fertilizer from the agro-dealers,” complained Chisenga.
President Edgar Lungu has since acknowledged the disastrous implementation of the e-voucher system and the FISP and has directed that work on the next farming season should begin immediately.
However, his agriculture minister Dora Siliya has attributed the problems in the distribution of farming inputs to last August’s general elections and subsequent presidential petition by the UPND, an argument which the opposition party and agricultural oriented civil society organisations have trashed. JC/News