Lungu’s e-voucher has failed, Chama tells Lubinda

PATRIOTIC Front secretary general Davies Chama says the e-voucher system recently launched by President Edgar Lungu has failed, suggesting that the government reverts to the old system for distributing inputs before the ruling party faces problems.

President Lungu last month launched the electronic voucher system under the Farmer Input Support Programme in Choma.

The e-voucher, being piloted in 13 districts this year, is envisioned to devolve inputs procurement by allowing the private sector to play the leading role in delivering inputs to farmers and also allow the farmer to have more freedom of choice of inputs.

But Kabwe farmers lamented the high prices of fertiliser accessed through the e-voucher system.
“Fertiliser is very expensive, hence the fertiliser dealers have hiked prices. There is no fertiliser you can find at K280,” Waya Cooperative chairperson Ann Santa on behalf of others told Chama.

“What is surprising us is that they are telling us to go and swipe from a shop where there is expensive fertiliser when we have got more than 44,000 bags of D (compound) in the shed, then if we go to Nyiombo, they have more than 20,000 bags…Now what is surprising us is that they want these farmers to go and get fertiliser from the shops using the e-voucher at that price of K420, why? This time is for elections, let these people access government fertiliser, which they have been accessing since the programme started at the same old prices. This is time for elections, we are not supposed to trouble people or strangle them. Whether one is light in complexion, ugly, dark, or is short, hunger does not chose. Government must listen when the people at the grassroots cry and find out why the children are crying.”

She lamented that the e-voucher system would not work if the names of farmers were misspelled as no verification had been done despite the onset of the rains.
Santa added that the card works with network and electricity.
After Santa’s briefing, Chama then phoned agriculture minister Given Lubinda whom he advised to reconsider the government’s position over the e-voucher system as it seemed to have been sabotaged.

“And now I am getting educated about this…it’s like the e-voucher is problematic so far; it’s like implementation has been a challenge from the information which is being given,” he told Lubinda. “I understand there is a petition that was given to the Vice-President [Inonge Wina] even the President [Lungu] and it looks like implementation is a challenge from what I am getting on the ground…because now I am in the midst of farmers and I cannot run away. So I don’t know what plans

are there. The dealers don’t even have the inputs, the e-voucher cards are not ready, they have not been verified. Then these dealers are increasing the input prices and basically the system is not ready and the rains have started. So they are pleading that probably we go back to the FISP for now and this e-voucher thing has been discussed for many years. I understand for three years it has been

under discussion but it’s like there’s someone sabotaging the system…. So we need to maybe take some drastic action, honourable minister, otherwise we have a challenge on our hands…. And now given those challenges…we need to revert to the old system, otherwise we will have a problem….”
Chama said if the entire system had been sabotaged, it could not work.
“From what I am getting, the system has been sabotaged and if we stick to the system, I am telling you we have a big problem on our hands…maybe I put you on loud so that they hear you,” Chama told Lubinda.

And Lubinda assured the farmers that their concerns had been heard and that he would address them by Tuesday.By Muliyunda Lilembalemba in Kabwe
PATRIOTIC Front secretary general Davies Chama says the e-voucher system recently launched by President Edgar Lungu has failed, suggesting that the government reverts to the old system for distributing inputs before the ruling party faces problems.

President Lungu last month launched the electronic voucher system under the Farmer Input Support Programme in Choma.
The e-voucher, being piloted in 13 districts this year, is envisioned to devolve inputs procurement by allowing the private sector to play the leading role in delivering inputs to farmers and also allow the farmer to have more freedom of choice of inputs.

But Kabwe farmers lamented the high prices of fertiliser accessed through the e-voucher system.
“Fertiliser is very expensive, hence the fertiliser dealers have hiked prices. There is no fertiliser you can find at K280,” Waya Cooperative chairperson Ann Santa on behalf of others told Chama.

“What is surprising us is that they are telling us to go and swipe from a shop where there is expensive fertiliser when we have got more than 44,000 bags of D (compound) in the shed, then if we go to Nyiombo, they have more than 20,000 bags…Now what is surprising us is that they want these farmers to go and get fertiliser from the shops using the e-voucher at that price of K420, why? This time is for elections, let these people access government fertiliser, which they have been accessing since the programme started at the same old prices. This is time

for elections, we are not supposed to trouble people or strangle them. Whether one is light in complexion, ugly, dark, or is short, hunger does not chose. Government must listen when the people at the grassroots cry and find out why the children are crying.”
She lamented that the e-voucher system would not work if the names of farmers were misspelled as no verification had been done despite the onset of the rains.
Santa added that the card works with network and electricity.

After Santa’s briefing, Chama then phoned agriculture minister Given Lubinda whom he advised to reconsider the government’s position over the e-voucher system as it seemed to have been sabotaged.

“And now I am getting educated about this…it’s like the e-voucher is problematic so far; it’s like implementation has been a challenge from the information which is being given,” he told Lubinda. “I understand there is a petition that was given to the Vice-President [Inonge Wina] even the President [Lungu] and it looks like implementation is a challenge from what I am getting on the ground…because now I am in the midst of farmers and I cannot run away. So I don’t know what plans are there. The dealers don’t even have the inputs, the e-voucher cards are not ready, they have not been verified. Then these dealers are increasing the input

prices and basically the system is not ready and the rains have started. So they are pleading that probably we go back to the FISP for now and this e-voucher thing has been discussed for many years. I understand for three years it has been under discussion but it’s like there’s someone sabotaging the system…. So we need to maybe take some drastic action, honourable minister, otherwise we have a challenge on our hands…. And now given those challenges…we need to revert to the old system, otherwise we will have a problem….”

Chama said if the entire system had been sabotaged, it could not work.
“From what I am getting, the system has been sabotaged and if we stick to the system, I am telling you we have a big problem on our hands…maybe I put you on loud so that they hear you,” Chama told Lubinda.
And Lubinda assured the farmers that their concerns had been heard and that he would address them by Tuesday.

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