Release inputs, farmers tell State

SMALL scale farmers have appealed to the Ministry of Agriculture to offload the distributed farming inputs lying in depots so that farmers start preparing the 2015/16 farming activities.

Mr George Bbabbi, a farmer in Sinazongwe, said farmers were usually delayed in the district because the inputs were distributed late.

He said the Ministry of Agriculture should remind depot supervisors to immediately release the inputs which were still locked up in depots.

“We the farmers in Sinazongwe are appealing to the Ministry of Agriculture to immediately distribute the farming inputs lying in depots to the farmers because time is not with us as the rain signs draw near,” he said.

Mr Bbabbi said small scale farmers were also worried about the escalating prices of fertilizer which he said would see only few farmers participate in farming activities this year.

“We don’t know how many farmers will grow maize this year looking at how fertilizer has been increased and the majority of the farmers cannot afford to buy a bag of fertilizer at K400 per bag with this poverty,” he said.

Mr Bbabbi said the high prices would have an adverse effect on their income and crop yields.

“These abrupt increases of prices have adversely affected the farming activities, and if not checked will result into a reduction in production,” he said.

He said farmers were worried about the rise in fertilizer prices, saying the current trading prices on the market were in the range of K370, which was higher than last year’s.

Mr Bbabbi said the increase in prices was making it difficult for farmers to buy inputs on cash basis on the market as they were not affordable.

He said farmers were poised to reap more benefits from Government’s agriculture policy direction because of the significant contribution of farmers towards ensuring food security in the country.

“We are still waiting for the Government’s assurance that they will intervene in the high prices of fertilizers,” he said.