Zambians must brace for severe food shortages as fertiliser prices are expected to go beyond the reach of farmers due to the free falling Kwacha, right now the commodity price has increased from K250 to between K280 and K300 per 50 Kg bag in some shops.
An impeccable source at the ministry of Agriculture has disclosed that government may not even be able to meet the Farmer Input Support Programme because of the same factors. The other attribute is the introduction of the e-voucher which will restrict the FISP programme to one fertiliser pack per beneficiary.
“While we can manufacture D compound (basal dressing) we cannot produce urea (top dressing) and we have to import. But even in the case of D compound, there are some components which we have to import and that is where the weak Kwacha comes into play. So I foresee some food shortage and even the e-voucher is a misfit because manually we could allocate according to the hectares a farmer has. Now with this system it shall only be one pack and I think it is a way of indirectly reducing the fertiliser supply to the farmer,” said the source.
The 2014/ 2015 season was associated with government late payment for the produce as well as the late delivery of inputs. The source further said that the effects may become more pronounced towards the end of next year as the crops harvested this year start running out.