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GREEN FARMERS are being encouraged to manage weeds in fields to encourage water retention and better soil quality.

Remove barriers on agro finances, State urged

FARMERS in Lusaka have appealed to Government to consider removing barriers to accessing finances for the agricultural sector.
Chairman of North-West Block Show Committee Kebby Mulimbika said the scrutiny that cooperatives undergo usually disqualifies them from accessing finance.
He was speaking in Lusaka at the Ministry of Agriculture 2016 north-west block agriculture show which was held under the theme ‘Managing environment for growth’.
“This years’ theme gives us an understanding that we should focus our agricultural activities beyond 2016 and apply sustainable agricultural practises that will ensure development of the sector and improvement of our economy,” he said.
Mr Mulimbika also said the environment that farmers operate in must have amenities that are favourable to lead small-scale farmers into becoming commercial farmers in future.
He commended Government for introducing the e-voucher system which he is confident will lead to reduction of irregularities in accessing inputs.
“Each member of a farmer group will have a card for swiping to access any commodity from agro dealers of their choice. Stocking expired seeds by agro dealers, underweight inputs and late collection of inputs will no longer be experienced in Lusaka district,” he said.
Mr Mulimbika, however, appealed to Government to consider increasing the number of packs of inputs allocated to farmers under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP).
Meanwhile, Zambian Fertilisers Chairman Atulkumar Pandoliker said despite Zambia experiencing strong economic growth in recent years, agriculture has not performed well due to mismanagement of the environment for growth.
He said it is for this reason that the company is producing fertilisers that are specifically blended to enrich the soil with nutrients.
Mr Pandoliker thanked Government for implementing measures that have attracted the private sector to invest in agriculture production through programmes like FISP, which are managing the environment for growth.