Chiefs from Central province who today visited President Edgar Lungu have told him that high fertiliser prices and PF’s poor general agricultural policies have led to the collapse of agriculture in the country. But instead of addressing the chief’s concerns, Lungu started talking about increasing their monthly allowances.
According to a state house source, the chiefs who were led by senior chief Shakumbila of the Ila people complained that the high prices have made it difficult for small scale farmers to participate in agriculture. Currently fertiliser is selling at K450 per 50 Kg bag and is expected to cost higher as the demand increases and Kwacha depreciates.
But in a bid to dodge the traditional leaders’ concerns on agriculture, Lungu said that he was liaising with Justice minister Ngosa Simbyakula to consider increasing the chief’s monthly allowances and also to build them new palaces or refurbish the existing ones.
“The chiefs were mostly concerned with the agriculture subject but the President went into issues of rehabilitating their palaces, buying them vehicles and increasing their allowances, more like bribing them but otherwise they were categorical on the subject of agriculture,” said the source.
Meanwhile President Lungu is tomorrow expected to launch the infamous e-voucher agriculture system in Choma. Under this system, farmers will be limited in the number of bags of fertiliser and seed that they will get thereby making it difficult for farmers in remote areas to access the inputs. It has been widely condemned by agricultural experts but PF has remained defiant and want it implemented in some pilot districts.