The Zambian Minister of Agriculture, Michael Katambo says the government is committed to attaining the 15 percent SADC protocol of funding the agriculture sector.
Mr. Katambo said the government is focused on improving the agriculture sector by making it accessible, effective, efficient and productive.
He noted that government is determined to ensure that all the farming inputs reach the farmers on time and that his Ministry has continued carrying out vigorous sensitization as well as putting in place ambitious programmes to make the sector attractive.
The Minister made emphasis on improvements such as the increase in the number of Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) from 900,000 to one million beneficiaries.
“Government is determined to ensure that all the farming inputs reach our farmers on time and one of the strategies being employed is to start the input distribution programme early followed by the official flagging-off of farming inputs any time soon,” he said.
He said this will guarantee government working with cooperating partners to achieve its intended bumper harvest and ensure food security in the nation for the 2018/2019 farming season.
Zambia’s budgetary allocation to the agricultural sector stands below 10 percent against SADC’s requirement for member states to contribute 15 percent.
Meanwhile, Mr. Katambo said the design of FISP is to support the current beneficiaries for a period of three years and wean them off to allow new farmers to participate.
He disclosed that the government saved over one billion kwacha after the elimination of 600,000 ghost farmers since the introduction of the electronic voucher system that he highly applauded.