NKOMBO KACHEMBA, Chinsali
GOVERNMENT will this year save over K8.5 million on transport costs through the implementation of the electronic voucher (e-voucher) system) in all districts in Muchinga Province.
Provincial agriculture officer Victor Mulopa said in an interview yesterday that Government has been spending colossal sums of money used to ferry farm inputs to all the districts in the province.
Dr Mulopa said about 72,000 farmers have been captured on the e-voucher system in the Muchinga Province to enable them use electronic cards when buying farm inputs this marketing season.
Government has rolled out the e-voucher system to all districts to enable the farmers to purchase inputs of their choice using the electronic cards.
“In Mpika alone, we were spending K2.5 billion on transport to ferry farm inputs to the farmers using the conventional method but now with the electronic voucher system, we will save more than K8.5 million that we used to spend on transport costs,” Dr Mulopa said.
He said the money which has been saved can be diverted to support other programmes that are of economic importance to the agriculture sector.
Dr Mulopa also said with the e-voucher system now rolled out to all the districts, the farmers can buy inputs of their choice to effectively support the efforts that Government is making to diversify the agriculture sector.
He said the Ministry of Agriculture is screening the farmers on the programme to ensure the intended people benefit.
Dr Mulopa said some names of farmers were appearing three times while some beneficiaries listed on the programme had no national registration cards (NRC).
He also urged agro-dealers in the province to stock their shops with various farm inputs to enable the farmers to buy inputs of their choice this farming season.
Dr Mulopa said last farming season, most of the farmers had challenges to secure the farm inputs of their choice because most agro-dealers did not stock their shops with sufficient farm supplements.
He said the Ministry of Agriculture has since engaged agro-dealers to help in addressing the challenges they faced last year for the benefit of the farmers.