By Kalonga D Haciwa
FRA and the PF government have gone to bed, when the country should have been busy procuring and distributing farming inputs for 2012/13 farming season. The efficient farming cooperatives around the country have started collecting contributions or payments from the poor and unpaid farmers for fertilisers and seeds. Many have failed to meet their down payments even for a single pack of inputs (four bags of fertiliser; two basal, two top-dressing and a 10Kgs bag of maize seed) and many are likely to miss out from this Farming Input Subside Programme. About 80% of our farmers around the country depend on this programme of which 50% of them may not access the said farming inputs due to delayed or none payment from FRA, brewing a national hunger for next year.
Now I agree when they say history repeats itself; during the MMD government when Dr Guy Scott and President Michael Sata were in government at the time the country experienced serious hunger and we had to import yellow maize from outside the country which was famously known as “Guy-Scott”. This was caused mainly by insufficient rain water and poor agricultural farming policies. This time around, it’s being caused by the same people; Dr Guy Scott and President Michael Sata, for failing to pay farmers their hard earned money.
The government should not forget that many peasant farmers if not all receive their money once in a year and they budget for the next farming season on the same money after they sale their farm produces. It will be so unfortunate and shameful for a country like Zambia, known to be the food basket for the region to go with empty bellies just because of the change of the government we wanted as electorates and has proved to be a change from better to worse and hardly supports agricultural activities in the country. May I challenge the powers that be to wakeup or let Zambia feed on GMOs or donated foods again! This is why I always encourage people to vote wisely or suffer the consequences. I call upon all affected and concerned Zambians to rise up to the occasion.