CHOMBA MUSIKA, Choma
THE Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock has started implementing the electronic voucher (e-voucher) system to enable small-scale farmers access subsidised inputs under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) in a transparent and expeditious manner.
Government introduced the e-voucher system to save resources through elimination of procurement, transportation and other administrative costs associated with FISP.
The e-voucher system requires private agri-businesses to have an electronic register of farmers and to issue them with e-voucher cards to enable them access farm inputs.
In Southern Province, the e-voucher pilot project is being implemented in six districts.
Provincial agricultural co-ordinator Max Choombe said the identification of farmers in the districts is running smoothly.
Speaking during the commemoration of the 93rd International Day ofÂ Co-operatives on Friday, Dr Choombe said Government is implementing the e-voucher system in Chikankata, Mazabuka, Monze, Pemba, Choma and Kalomo.
â€œWe have already done the identification of these farmers and when time comes, these farmers will deposit their produce and then we shall give them the voucher and they can go to any shop which will be registered under e-voucher to go and collect their inputs.
â€œThis means that as Government, we shall cut off certain costs such as paying for their warehousing, and transportation of farm inputs,â€ he said.
Dr Choombe also said the e-voucher system will enable farmers have adequate time to prepare for the planting season.
â€œAs we have started the programme [e-voucher], we shall have an advantage of distributing farm inputs very early because we have already started doing the work and by September, we should be starting and people will plant the crops on time,â€ he said.
Dr Choombe appealed to farmers in the region to find time to register for the e-voucher system, which will enable them to have direct access to subsidised farm inputs through their respective co-operatives.
CHOMBA MUSIKA, Choma