Business

Over 40,000 East farmers benefit from e-voucher cards

NOMSA NKANA, Lusaka
THE Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) has issued 40,431 e-voucher cards to the beneficiary farmers out of the 47,736 farmers in Chipata.
The e-voucher cards distribution exercise for this farming season in Chipata started on December 7, 2016 following the training of Ministry of Agriculture staff and interns recruited by ZNFU.
This is contained in ZNFU weekly brief report availed to the daily mail.
“By December 19, 2016, all the cards in the first consignment were successfully distributed to deserving farmers,” the report reads.
It says farmers have since started depositing their equity contribution into the respective bank accounts and are now waiting for the activation of their cards for them to start transacting with the selected agro-dealers.
The report also says some of the agro-dealers have, however, started giving inputs such as maize seed to farmers even before the cards are activated.
“Chipata district has the highest number of farmers under FISP in the whole country,” the report has noted.
In Nyimba, the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) is under way with the district having received all the D compound allocation (43,072 bags X 50kgs), but without Urea, due to inadequate storage space.
Out of 37,132 bags of urea, only 7,723 bags are in the district for distribution with the rest in storage sheds in Katete.
Farmers have been receiving inputs since last week with areas that are very far from the central business district being the first to receive.
ZNFU district staff have urged the farmers to use the inputs for the intended purpose as some reports reaching the offices have revealed that some farmers are reselling the inputs.
Meanwhile, on the copperbelt, the FISP e-voucher card distribution is currently underway mostly in new districts.
Chingola, Chililabombwe and Luanshya have commenced card distribution and the exercise is expected to be completed within 10 days.
“Farmers have expressed gratitude despite the exercise starting late. The farmers in Luanshya’s Fisenge area have assured that they will use the money for the intended purposes,” the report has revealed.
Ndola, which was the only pilot district last season, has begun depositing money in readiness for loading and activation by the banks, and transactions are expected to start as soon as possible.

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