Business

16,000 Mumbwa farmers to benefit from E-voucher

ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka
THE Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) says over 16,000 small-scale farmers in Mumbwa are expected to benefit from the farmer input support programme using the electronic voucher system.
The E-voucher system requires private agricultural businesses to have an electronic register of farmers and to issue them with E-voucher cards to enable them access farm inputs.
The Ministry of Agriculture and ZNFU are currently issuing E-voucher cards to the beneficiaries in readiness for the 2015/16 farming season.
According to the union’s Friday weekly brief, ZNFU says the E-voucher will help farmers choose the kind of farming they want to do in the particular season.
“Most of the beneficiaries are ready to make their upfront payments towards the subsidised inputs as they will purchase them from designated local agro-dealers,” the ZNFU says.
Meanwhile, ZNFU president Evelyn Nguleka has requested members of Parliament (MPs) to introduce techniques that will reduce the tax burden on the agriculture sector in the 2016 national budget to diversify the economy from mining.
Appearing before the Expanded Parliamentary Committee on budget estimates for 2016 last week, Dr Nguleka said it is regrettable that in the 2016 national budget, Government has not addressed challenges that constrain the competitiveness of the agriculture sector.
Dr Nguleka said enhancing agricultural levies in the sector will help Zambia make strides in diversifying the economy.
She also said that the sector is constrained by other fees and levies charged by different government departments such as Water Resources Management Authority, the Zambia Environmental Management Agency, municipalities and the Zambia Medicines Regulatory Agency, among others.


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