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‘E-voucher system to roll country-wide’

GOVERNMENT intends to roll out the electronic voucher (e-voucher) system under the farmer input support programme (FISP) to more districts this year as a result of the positive response received from farmers.
Minister of Agriculture Given Lubinda said he is happy with the positive response that farmers have shown towards the e-voucher system.
The project is currently being piloted in 13 districts across the country.
Mr Lubinda said the programme will this year be rolled out to many other districts across the country and it will be on going until all the districts have been covered.
He said this in a ministerial statement issued recently on the status of the e-voucher system in the country.
“The e-voucher system is meant to help farmers move away from depending on rain-fed agriculture to other farm enterprises,” he said.
He said for the first time under the FISP programme, farmers have been able to access a wide range of agriculture and livestock inputs of their choice.
Mr Lubinda said 219,891 cards were distributed out of the 241,041 produced, while the differences were not distributed due to death and relocation.
He said despite the success, a number of challenges were faced, among them, the sudden rise in the price of fertiliser, which resulted in government having to source for additional funds to increase its contribution on the cards.
“Load shedding also affected the timely transmission of data from districts,” Mr Lubinda said.
On the positive side, Mr Lubinda said FISP implementation-related pressure on ministry staff has reduced.
“This should mean officers allocating more time to other important activities such as provision of agricultural extension services,” he said.