Business

Scrutinise farmer cooperatives, Govt urged

KELLY NJOMBO, Lusaka
THE Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI) says it is important for Government to critically scrutinise farmer cooperatives in the expansion phase of the electronic voucher implementation to avoid ghost beneficiaries.
The e-voucher system implementation has attracted more private sector participation in inputs distribution to rural farmers in the initial 13 pilot districts.
The institute says if implemented effectively, the e-voucher system will be one of the pathways to encourage agricultural diversification in the country as farmers are given an opportunity to obtain inputs of their choice.
According to the latest IAPRI working paper on ‘Lessons learnt from the implementation of the e-voucher pilot project, despite the problems faced by farmers and Government, more than 90 percent of farmers interviewed during the baseline survey indicated they were aware of the e-voucher and its benefits.
In the expanded phase of the e-voucher implementation, it may be important for the Ministry of Agriculture district personnel responsible for the e-voucher logistics to critically scrutinise the beneficiary list coming from the farmer cooperatives. In case there are queries, the camp officers can help rectify the problems of having multiple recipients in certain households,” IAPRI says.
It says there is also need to intensify the sensitisation programme of all the stakeholders, including Government personnel.



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