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E-voucher fails Mumbwa farmers

THE electronic voucher system of distributing subsidised farming inputs to farmers under the Farmer Input Support Programme has continued to score low marks, with Mumbwa district recording a paltry 1, 753 redeemed transactions out of the total district allocation of 16,925 beneficiaries.

 

According to a letter from Mumbwa district agricultural coordinator Patrick Mwalukanga to the Central Province agricultural coordinator obtained by The Mast, the district had 66 active agro-dealers.

 

The letter dated January 8 was basically highlighting the current status of the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) E-voucher implementation for the 2017/18 farming season for Mumbwa district.

 

“It (letter) highlights the district allocation, commencement day of the exercise, number of farmers on ATDs generated so far, farmers who have deposited with which bank, farmers who have swiped, number of agro-dealers who are active, cards not activated for last farming season, challenges and way forward,” read the letter that was copied to the district commissioner, council secretary and the Office of the President.

 

It further stated that 11, 190 farmers were confirmed as having contributed to cards by Zambia Integrated Agricultural Management Information System (ZIAMIS).

 

The number of E-voucher cards not activated for the 2016/17 farming season was 850.

 

And the letter noted that untallying National Registration Card numbers, limited operational resources, missing farmers in the database and activation of undeposited cards were other problems facing the district.

 

Meanwhile, a long queue formed at Export Trading Group (ETC) agro dealer in Mumbwa town where farmers were frantically swiping to later collect farming inputs, mostly fertilisers.

 

A full pack of fertiliser, this time around, comprises three bags of D-compound and three of urea.

 

Meanwhile, ETC depot manager Kalungu Mwaanga, in an interview said: “The challenge we have is the activation of the cards. But sources from the Ministry of Agriculture say the problem is that the bank is slow to load funds to individual cards.”

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