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IAPRI blames e-voucher failure on poor internet connectivity, mismatch in NRCs

POOR internet connectivity, mismatch in NRCs render the electronic farmer input programme partially ineffective, the Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI) has revealed.

According to its inaugural Bi Monthly Electronic Bulletin made available by Ballard Zulu, who is the outreach director, the IAPRI stated that it had declared 2018 as the year of ‘Impact.’

“Despite some positive results regarding the performance of the e-voucher, there had been problems in its implementation related to delayed or non-delivery of e-voucher cards, poor internet connectivity, mismatch of NRC cards, lost Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) by some farmers, low staffing by some banks, agro-dealers’ lack of knowledge to operate point of sale machines, among others,”

the IAPRI stated.

It indicated that it had analysed the implications of the 2017 maize export ban, large carryover stocks coupled with an impending bumper harvest in Zambia and the Southern Africa region.

“The situation subsequently led to the 2017/18 marketing season having a large maize stock leading to a price crush which negatively affected

farmers and undermined private sector participation in the sector,” the institute added.

The IAPRI further stated that despite commending government for its commitment to market related pricing with regard to purchases by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) in 2017 and for sticking to the 500,000 metric tonnes strategic food reserves, it did not agree to calls by some stakeholders to expand the activities of FRA to include “commercialising” the agency’s Terms of Reference as there was no evidence to support this action.

“In fact, history has proven that combining a social activity of maintaining a strategic reserve with commercial activities resulted in abject failure…. IAPRI looked forward to a full market based pricing for the FRA and rationalisation of the food reserve size. The Institute also urged the government to drop the proposals to commercialise FRA and instead to use the reform process as a way of returning FRA to its original mandate of maintaining a strategic food reserve,”

the institute stated.

The institute further welcomed the move by the Zambia National Farmers Union to establish farmer markets.

“This was an opportunity for the farmers and consumers to establish markets that would have transparent price discovery devoid of undesired middlemen. It was also an opportunity to establish rule-based brokers,” stated IAPRI.

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