Sources at both the ministries of Finance and Agriculture have revealed that the introduction of the e voucher system is a deliberate move by government to reduce funding to the agriculture sector because apparently government is broke.
Under the system, a farmer shall be given a voucher which shall be swiped at an agro dealing company for one pack of Farmer input Supply Programme (FISP), thereby creating an unnecessary middle man in the chain. To date no farmer has received any inputs, while the rain season is only about a month away.
“This system will block fertiliser from reaching the real peasant farmers and government is aware of this it is just that there isn’t enough money to invest in the agricultural sector. We anticipate a shamble of a farming season next year, even worse than the one we had last year due to late delivery of inputs,” said the Agriculture ministry source.
And the finance ministry source disclosed that while Nitrogen chemicals will manufacture some D compound fertiliser, it would be very costly to import the urea because it cannot be manufactured locally. He also cited the poor value kwacha as one cause but further said that there was literally no money for the exercise.
“Maybe by the time we need the top dressing fertiliser the dollar may be above K20 so it will be very costly to bring the commodity here. In a nut shell there isn’t just money for that exercise, the treasury is broke,” he stressed.