Fertilizer shambles

It is about time the Government took cognizance and implemented measures to control the quality of fertilizers being imported into the country.

Most of the fertilizers imported into the country are sub-standard showing serious deficits in important chemical components, thus rendering the highly compromised for the purpose for which they are supposed to be applied. This is a grave danger to our agriculture and unless measures are taken to rectify the situation food security will be ultimately affected.

The greatest danger lies in the fact that these fertilizers are not regulated in any form or manner. Importers dutifully pay huge sums of money to secure import permits including a so called “standards” certificate but in reality no assay is made at the borders.

As a result farmers have been left at the mercy of unscrupulous importers who are fully aware of the lapses in our surveillance and testing procedures.

The Government has a duty to protect farmers as well as ensure food security by availing the best possible agriculture support services which includes paying attention to the various inputs and variables that are utilized in the agriculture industry, because this is one sector that sustains millions of Zambians in formal and informal employment and peasant productive activity.

It will be unforgivable I and certainly criminal if this country suffers a food deficit next year all because the fertilizer procurement and distribution system has been deliberately sabotages for the purpose of giving business sharks financial benefit.

Our situation this year is particularly precarious in spite of and perhaps because of Government direct involvement in the importation fertilizer from Saudi Arabia. This intervention is proving disruptive and problematic because of the manner in which it has been executed.

  Ordinarily the Government should have been playing a supervisory role in ensuring that private contractors provided an effective and efficient service, but now the Government finds itself wanting in this very important sector

Sadly the Government has joined the rank of suppliers now failing the people by failing to deliver at the right time and in the right quantities. It has therefore become difficult for the Government itself to provide oversight on the input delivery front.

 Defending the indefensible

The attempt by Mr. Miles Sampa to equate the Patriotic Front (PF) as a regional organization is disingenuous and dangerous too.

People joined and voted for the PF not because of the  regional origination of the leadership, but for the dream and vision it sold.

The truth is that the Copperbelt and Lusaka where the PF got the most votes does not have tribal affiliation. Incumbents are voted for or against on the basis of their campaign promises.

There is no reason for regionalism.