Muchinga Provincial Agricultural Coordinator Dr. Victor Mulopa has urged his staff to understand the modalities of implementing the 2014 Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP).
Speaking during the provincial launch of the 2014 FISP modalities at a workshop in Mpika district, Dr. Mulopa described this year’s launch as the first of its kind because it had come much earlier than the previous ones.
Dr Mulopa said this year’s early launch would provide an opportunity for stakeholders to improve the implementation and delivery of fertiliser and seeds to small scale farmers.
He reiterated the need for stakeholders to pay extra attention to the modalities of FISP implementation, citing last year’s programme that never went without incidences of misadventure.
Dr. Mulopa disclosed that some people ended up serving prison sentences because of not following the stipulated guidelines in the sale and distribution of FISP inputs.
Meanwhile the provincial coordinator said that Muchinga Province had so far received 83.5 percent of its ‘D’ Compound fertiliser allocation adding that 70,978 small scale farmers were earmarked to receive maize inputs, 7,060 farmers for groundnuts and 2,500 for rice inputs under the 2014 FISP in the region.
He however bemoaned the poor coordination experienced last year between Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ) and the Ministry of Agriculture at district level.
He has since appealed to NCZ warehouse managers to closely collaborate with District Agricultural Coordinators.
He further lamented the insufficient capacity of transporters in Shiwang’andu and Chama districts and recommended for the early outsourcing of transporters.
Dr Mulopa said he received several phone calls of complaints last year from small scale farmers who were alleging that some transporters slapped extra levies on them for the transportation of inputs due to the poor state of roads, especially in Chama district.